Shagun Chowdhary's Jaipur soiree© HelloIndia

Inside Olympian Shagun Chowdhary’s Intimate Soirée In Jaipur

HELLO India Logo
Vishwaveer Singh

Nestled a fair distance from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur is Narangah Estate, a quaint farmhouse owned by professional trap shooter Shagun Chowdhary and her family for generations. Kinnow trees bloom here among other foliage, creating a serene oasis in the midst of what is otherwise an arid landscape. Shagun, who has lived in New Delhi for many years, has recently moved back to her hometown of Jaipur and is in the process of rekindling old friendships and making new acquaintances, and parties at Narangah are the highlight of the season’s social calendar.

Shagun Chowdhary's Jaipur soiree©HelloIndia

For her end-of-winter soirée, to which HELLO! was invited, Shagun orchestrated a gathering that drew in much of the city’s hoi-poloi, including a few erstwhile royals, Thakurs and Thakuranis,

polo players and fourth-generation jewellers, whose forefathers crafted baubles for Indian Maharajas and Maharanis, as well as personalities like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Empress Farah Pahlavi. With tequila flowing freely, kinnow ripe for plucking from nearby trees, and finger foods keeping the guests satiated, the afternoon felt almost surreal, with bonhomie and mischief at their peak.Shagun’s close friends, who graciously gathered for our cameras a few hours before the celebrations began, included Gem Palace scion Siddharth Kasliwal, jewellery impresario Akshat Ghiya and his art consultant wife Noelle Kadar, and designer/marketing expert Ortensia Kruger. The group made for an eclectic bunch who’ve travelled the world, but decided to call Jaipur their home at the end of the day.

Escape From The Hustle And Bustle

Embarking on her passion from a young age, accompanying her father Sushil shooting, Shagun made history as the first Indian woman to qualify for the Olympic trap shooting event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She spent a lot of her time training in Italy and it was there that the idea behind Narangah was born. “During these camps in Italy, when we spent long stretches in vineyards and orchards, I found inspiration to create something similar in Jaipur,” she explains. The estate, flanked by vast tracts of land on either side, is slowly being groomed by Chowdharys to one day transform into a boutique resort.

Independent tents allow guests to spend the night after a party in the orchard has gone on too long, but one can see the beginnings of a high-end luxury escape already in the making. “It’s important for people to find a place near the city where they can escape the hustle and bustle of metropolitan living. I wanted to bring in nature into the spaces, make it into a world where families and children could enjoy the outdoors,” Shagun explains, adding, “I also believe in farm to fork organic eating, which is a sentiment that is shared by my closest friends. Thus came about Narangah.”

Friends Like Family

Akshat Ghia is no stranger to the spotlight, being the mastermind behind Tallin Jewels, whose creations have been worn by such trendsetters as Isha Ambani, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan. “It’s been a family business for us for 40-50 years,” explains Akshat, “My mother started a special line of handmade jewellery in the factory here in Jaipur, which we then started exporting to Italy.”

Shagun Chowdhary's Jaipur soiree©HelloIndia

When Akshat and his wife Noelle decided to settle down, Jaipur was an obvious choice. “Noelle and I moved here six-seven years ago, it’s a great place to bring up children,” he says. Noelle Kadar, Akshat’s wife and mother of their twins, Ojas and Hannah Devi, is the picture of elegance. An art consultant, she advises some of the country’s most influential business families and hotel chains who are looking to start a collection of their own. While she couldn’t reveal much about her latest project, the former artistic director of The Sculpture Park at Madhavendra Palace and Art Dubai consultant did share intriguing details that left one truly impressed by the scope of work she has immersed herself in so quickly after making India her home.

The last of this band of friends is Italian expat Ortensia Kruger, who moved to Jaipur after completing a course at Central Saint Martins. “I was working for a block print company in Jaipur in 2022, designing for them, when I decided I wanted to live here longer. Later I started diversifying into social media marketing and saw that I had a knack for that. Online is the future after all!” says Ortensia. “When I came here I knew no one, but a friend recommended that I meet their common friends and before long, I knew everyone. We met at parties and became really strong friends as time went by,” says the designer, content to go with the flow and perhaps consider starting something of her own in the city in the future.

Shagun Chowdhary's Jaipur soiree©HelloIndia

A Tranquil Haven In The Desert

With the sun setting and several other guests making their way to Narangah, one can’t help but take a moment to admire this charming sanctuary, reminiscent of a mirage in the desert, offering comfort. “It’s a grove where I wanted people to just be at ease and have cosy conversations,” shares Shagun before the party swings in.

People from diverse walks of life with a strong bond become one in this serene spot that she’s worked so hard to create. The shooter might be a champion for women’s sports in the country

but to her friends in Jaipur she is the hostess with the mostest—a humble soul who brings together good folks and gives them a chance to let their hair down, chill and relax, break away from the mundane and take part in a bit of handcrafted magic.

Photos: Abhishek Khandelwal; Hair & Make-Up: Natasha Singh, Tangerine Boutique Salon; Creative Direction: Amber Tikari; Food Courtesy: Reflect Cafe & Bistro, Jaipur

This article has been adapted for the website from the April 2024 issue of HELLO! India. Grab your copies here.