We just received your invitation to attend the wedding of Varun and Vivek, our "second cousins" of sort, in Jodphur, India! 1500 guests have been invited and you'll be part of the wedding party on the groom's side.
For you Wild women our guide will help you pick up a sari a few days before the gala event, and it's your chance to go with bold color! Wild guys just need a sport jacket because you'll be fitted with a turban according to the color scheme and style of the Jodphuri family.
This is the wedding of Amit Sankahla's cousin. Amit is our India in-country program director, and if you are able to attend you'll be hosted by Amit and his wife Jessika, and our local guide who will accompany you and explain everything that's happening around you.
So, if you are planning a trip to India in the New Year, but you have not confirmed, give us a call and we can arrange your itinerary including any one of these days for the wedding in Rajasthan:
29 January Varun/Vivek dinner party for close family of 400 people
30 January Vivek barat with 1500 people
7 Febuary Varun / Vivek reception with 1200 people
8 Febuary Varun barat processed with 1200 people
I can attest to what an amazing opportunity this is! Last year Anne and I attended Varun's sister's wedding. We participated for just one day, the 2nd of the 3 day wedding celebration. Late morning we arrived to the kasbah with a cranes, ladders and crew setting up for the reception party that night, but off to the side was a gaggle of beautifully, and colorfully clad women for the mehndi ceremony.
This is where the bride and her female friends and family have elaborate henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet, and participate in blessing rituals and dance together with the close family.
We all had lunch together with the family, then returned later that evening for the groom's barat (procession) and gala reception of the wedding couple. The groom arrives through the gates of the kasbah on a white horse covered in garlands and bejewlled in sparkles, surrounded by guests dancing to the beat of the dhol, an Indian drum.
The groom's family accompanies him and they move forward to the main staging area where the bride's family awaits to receive them. The couple exchanges floral garlands to wear around their necks symbolizing their acceptance of each other.
After much food, watching the musicians and troupes of acrobats and dancers, we were invited to the mangal phera ceremony (circling the holy fire). Because we were part of the wedding family we sat with the immediate family in the intimacy of the small temple. Here the priest, groom, bride and bride's parents sit beneath a colorful mandap canopy.
It's a lovely ritual that starts off with the bride's parents giving her away to the groom. Insence wafts through the room, the priest prays and blesses the couple, and mantras are recited by the groom seeking love and support from his wife, and his hopes for a peaceful and uncomplicated marital life.
The couple makes four circles around the coal fire symbolizing four human goals: Dharma or religious merit, Artha or prosperity, Kam or happiness, and Moksha the detachment from worldly pleasures.
Later that evening it's usually a crazy dance party with bhangra, a frenzied Punjab folk dance and modern international music, but we wouldn't know about that because it was late for all of us, including Amit and Jessika's daughter Siana, so we retired to our nearby hotel for night.
February is wedding season in India. If you can't make it to this family wedding, we usually find other weddings when traveling in India this time of year to pop into at least to get a look. Many Indian families will pull you in to the celebration!
Let us know if you would like to RSVP for the wedding by contacting Kurt Kutay. You can participate in this wedding, or possibly others in the month of February on our India Royal Rajasthan, or take a look at all our India tours and ask us to plan your custom trip to India.