In Mandawa is an old fort – an Indian palace, which has been converted into a hotel and restaurant. As we learned, an Indian wedding took place there one evening. This gave us the opportunity to be part of such a spectacle of rich Indians. We decided already earlier during the day to visit the palace and could therefore observe the first preparations.
By the evening the preparations had been completed and the wedding guests could come.
Most marriages in India are arranged. Parents of the couple are searching for the partner. If you’re lucky, you get already before the wedding a photo of the future spouse. The first meeting of the bride and groom will take place during the wedding ceremony. Not marrying one’s own caste is considered impossible – rich marries rich, poor marries poor. In this case it is a wedding of rich families. A thousand wedding guests can already come to the festivities and it is not unusual for such weddings to cost several million euros.
We have mixed with the normal hotel guests and the spectacle for several hours attended.
The bridegroom had previously been in the restaurant with some wedding guests. From there he was led out of the palace with music on a horse – in order to ride back into the courtyard of the fort on an elephant in his wedding suit.
Until he came back, it took some time, the wedding guests had to be patient. The gentleman in the yellow shirt was the father of the bride. He probably looked so grumpy, because he must pay all the fun. I do not know if it was the same at this wedding, but there is still the custom today that the bridegroom is being weighed up by gold as a dowry. From narrations I know that it is not unusual for grooms in such a case, to increase between the consent to the wedding and the actual wedding 20-30 Kg. Each Kg body fat is pure money.
The courtyard is darkened and with too loud music, both the bridegroom on his elephant and the bride on the balcony are spotlighted by spot lights.
While the bridegroom is sitting on the prepared throne, the bride is led to the bridegroom under the cheers of the audience under a canopy of white and red flowers.
On the stage, the two meet for the first time and hang around each other as a sign of the marriage bond a flower chain. Then there is – so as also usual with us – the obligatory photos with relatives. This was exactly the right time to say goodbye, because in the number of wedding guests it can take hours.
It was really fun to be part of such a wedding – I had heard of the splendor of color and the show of Indian weddings in rich families, but never thought of the opportunity to be there.
For us, we continue to Jaipur, the capital of Rajastan.