Widow throws party to find place in heaven

PATNA, India Fri Jun 6, 2008 11:25am EDT

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PATNA, India (Reuters) - A rich 80-year-old Indian widow has spent thousands of dollars on a feast for 100,000 people in the hope it would please the gods and open the doors of heaven for her, local officials said.

People from surrounding villages and towns were fed lunch over two consecutive days by Phuljharia Kunwar, who lives in the eastern state of Bihar and has no family or relatives.

Kunwar spent $37,500 on the feast. Local officials said she spent lavishly on the meal because she had no one to bequeath her property.

"She told us she could now begin her final journey and her soul could rest in peace in heaven," Ajay Kumar Bulganin, a local lawmaker who attended the feast, held over Wednesday and Thursday, said.

"She was worried that no one would care about throwing a feast after her death."

(Writing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)