In the steps of a true maharajah

CELIA WIGG Thetford will launch a trail telling the life of the Maharajah Duleep Singh at an annual heritage day on Saturday.

CELIA WIGG

Thetford will launch a trail telling the life of the Maharajah Duleep Singh at an annual heritage day on Saturday.

Duleep Singh became the country's first Sikh settler at the age of 11 when he gave up his Indian crown, as the last Maharajah of the Punjab, to live the life of a British aristocrat at Elveden, near Thetford.

His son, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, bought the Ancient House in 1921 and gave it to the people of Thetford as a museum.

Visitors can pick up a free leaflet and take a self-guided tour to learn about the more exotic heritage they have on their doorstep.

Along the route, they will come across various activities, including Sikh storytelling, turban and kite-making workshops, and can dance with a Bangra group at Thetford's priory ruins.

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A Sikh martial-arts group has come from India for the open day, part of a national event co-ordinated by English Heritage.

Claire Treadwell, the town's tourism and marketing officer, said: "Most of the heritage open-day events concentrate on purely British themes, but we wanted to bring a taste of the exotic here to Thetford and to celebrate the special link we have with other cultures.

"The town will be turned into a hotbed of music, dance and fun events for all the family so, if it's anything like last year, we'll be welcoming plenty of visitors."

Children from Redcastle Furze Primary School in Thetford will also be using the Indian Summer theme with a series of workshops this week.

Call Thetford Information Centre on 01842 820689 for more details about the heritage open day, and the new trail.

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