There were many things that surprised me about India, but the most amazing part of our trip was meeting so many unbelievably kind people. Everyone was so accepting and patient with us as they showed us the wonderful sights of India. It is an experience I will never forget.
We made the journey here with some of my family for my cousin’s wedding. She was marrying a young man from Pune, India. The wedding festivities took roughly 4 days. This sounds unreal to someone from the United States, but the ceremonies in India were much more relaxed than the traditional ceremonies in America. We were able to move around and chitchat while the ceremonies were taking place. And for someone who has never experienced a traditional Hindu wedding, the ceremonies were quite fascinating for us to watch.
Our first day of ceremonies took place at the family’s home. Close family and friends were invited for the Puja Ceremony. A fire was lit in the living room for the Puja Ceremony. It became quite smokey and warm!
Here are the bride and groom after the Puja Ceremony. These flowers (which were all real!) were hanging at the front entrance of the family’s home.
This was our first traditional South Indian meal. It was all completely vegan, and had many different flavors our American palates weren’t accustomed to. The most surprising piece of food was “the pickle.” Which is the one with the red colored sauce, next to the little cup. It has a very strong, spicy taste!
The next day of wedding festivities were geared more toward the bride. She spent the majority of the day having her Mehndi (or Henna) applied to her hands, arms and feet. It took more than 5 hours for it all to be completed!
Later that night we attended an informal party at our hotel for the bride and groom.
The next day the wedding ceremonies really got underway. We were all asked to wear our traditional Indian clothing (which the family had specially made for us). For the ladies, we had to go early in the morning and have our saris (a traditional Indian dress) draped for us. A sari is actually about 5 to 9 yards of fabric that is draped over a petticoat (a long skirt, basically) and a fitted blouse that shows the midriff. It was quite the process, but the end results were beautiful!
The picture below is of the bride’s Mehndi. On one hand is a picture of the groom and the other is of her.
The next few pictures are of that morning’s ceremonies.
After the morning’s ceremonies, the women were taken to a separate room to dance and have their Mehndi done. It was so much fun!
My husband’s glamour shot with all of our completed Mehndi. Haha!
Below are our green gifts for the Hasoor Bidsodu ceremony. The bride’s family gives green clothing and accessories to the groom’s mother. This is because she had taken a vow not to wear green until her first son is married.
Unfortunately, I only have one picture of that night’s festivities. There were professional dancers hired to perform for the guests. And all of us from Wisconsin were asked to perform a dance from our area. So, we did some polkas of course. (Now, I’m kind of glad there weren’t any pictures of this!) Then, the bride and groom and several family members performed “So Happy Together.” It was fantastic!
The picture below is of the Kaashi Yatra ceremony. Basically the groom gets ‘cold feet’ and the bride’s father has to convince him to come back to the marriage ceremonies.
In the next ceremony, the bride and groom had three chances to throw a large garland necklace around each other’s necks. Once they both had a garland around their neck, they were officially married.
For lunch, our food was served on a banana leaf.
With the wedding ceremonies now over, we began our adventure of exploring the country. We had about a half of a day to explore Pune, before my husband and I had to catch a flight to Delhi.
While we were in India Ganesha Chaturthi was happening. It’s a festival to celebrate the birthday of Ganesha. There were these idols everywhere, and throughout the week the idols would be taken down to the river to be immersed.
We also took our first ride in an auto rickshaw! It was fun, but also a bit scary because there is no order to Indian traffic and it seemed way too easy to be hit by another car. These auto rickshaws can also go as fast as 40 miles per hour.
Click here to see more on our travels while we were in India.