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Of Chamba’s princess and her husband: Anurag Thakur relives Himachal’s special link to France

New Delhi, May 18

Tracing a slice of Himachal Pradesh in France, Iamp;B Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday paid tributes to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, princess of Chamba Bannu Pan Dei and her husband General Jean Francois Allard in the scenic fishing port of St Tropez.

Thakur, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, offered flowers at the busts of the Maharaja, the princess of Chamba and Gen Allard at St Tropez, considered as one of the jewels of the French Riviera.

Paid my respects to Maharaja Ranjit Singh ji, Gen. Allard amp; Rani Bannu Pan Dei ji, Princess of Chamba married to Gen. Allard of Maharaja’s army, invoking the connection b/w Himachal Pradesh amp; Saint Tropez, France ????.

| @IndiaembFrance | pic.twitter.com/uhw85roR07

— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) May 18, 2022

Thakur was welcomed by the Mayor of St Tropez Sylvie Siri.

Gen Allard was one of the officers in Napoleon’s court and entered into the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and rose to command the maharaja’s army.

Allard is also credited with raising the Fauj-i-Khas, a model brigade in the lines of Napoleon’s army.

While in Punjab, Allard fell in love with the princess of Chamba and married her and took her to St Tropez in 1834.

Allard returned to Punjab and died in 1839 after a brief illness in Peshawar.

Bannu Pan Dei converted to Christianity and continued to live in a large house built by Allard in St Tropez. She passed away in 1884.

The busts of the Maharaja and Bannu Pan Dei were unveiled in St Tropez in 2016 as a mark of growing India-France relationship.

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