14 June 2006

MY LOVE AND BEST WISHES


The waiting is over the day arrives, 28th of May, Guruvayur temple in Kerala. We are all there to be with Nirmal and Sindu, to share their joy, and to bless the couple.

This is a crowd of devotees who come to the temple from far and wide, Guruvayur is one of the most popular temple destinations of India. There are some rules to be followed like removing the shirt before entering the temple.

You can see some people have already removed their shirts, thankfully only men have to do it, ladies can walk in with casuals or designer clothes, no problems there.

It has been a tradition to conduct weddings in the temple for the well being, health and prosperity of the couple. Now most weddings are conducted in wedding halls for the sake of convenience.

Over 300 weddings are performed per day and they have to be performed within one hour of the auspecious time. There is crowd there is chaos, there is confusion, its all a part of the wedding fun. No chaos confusion there is no wedding fun.
One thing great about temple weddings is that there is no difference between rich and the poor, all are treated alike.

Now it is difficult to locate your own people, but all are assembled there, The bride Sindu's brother Ranjith and cousin Unni in the foreground in the picture below.


No hurry, you have to wait, first come first serve. No preferences or recommendations, the bride and the groom's name would be called, it has already been registered, tokes are issued, Our couple is third in the waiting line.

The bride arrives, escorted by Seema, and Mahua. gorgeous she looks.
No make up, simple silk sari, very little jewelry. gorgeous she looks.

Ah! lovely Sindu giving me a smile,
I am here I am here don't worry Sindu.
Believe me I was worried how to reach the wedding Mandap. I am not strong and well built. Here she is escorted by elders to reach the mandap, No worries about the groom, he needs no escort, after all he has been waiting for so long to find a right girl and God is rewarding him with a beautiful lovely caring loving wife, he will wade his way through the crowd no problems.
the ceremony. involves simple wedding rituals, tying of knot, sometimes exchange of rings. the bride and the groom garland each other and go around the deepam 3 times.

Please don't ask me how I reached and where i am standing, perhaps my foot was on some poor guy's shoulder, no one protests, they all know the problems, Some one from behind was supporting me. I couldn't even turn to thank him.

The ceremony is very short , receiving blessings from the priests. All done very fast as more than 200 couples to come. the ceremony is over. Sindu and Nirmal are husband and wife now.
EEEEEEEEEEYAAAAAA !!

I got my girl, I got my girl, his heart is jumping, Nirmal holding Sindu's hands escorting her, now it is his responsibility. Ah! happy couple smiling for me. Now all the relatives will come to congradulate the happy couple.

Groom holding an umbrella, It is his responsibility to protect his wife, here from the rain, luckily it stopped raining for some time.

Members of the family congradulating the couple.

Seema, Mahua, Priya, Chikkoo, The happy couple, Vijay, Ravi. Rest of them are somewhere in the crowd. they all will assemble in the wedding hall close by.
In the wedding hall, the ritual is repeated, for the relatives. After this they all come and bless the couple. no priests, elders perform the ceremony.

Here the Bride's mother is blessing the couple. Lot of people, they all came and individually blessed the couple, only the elders, me too went up to bless them.

the family group picture.

now the most important, there was a long wait and I was hungry, i sat down with my friends Shankar and Asokan.

Rice Sambaar, three kinds of side dishes and two payasams (sweet) I had a second helping of the payasams both were terrific. I had a full tumber of rasam, drank it, don't like eating with rice. I love rasam. After this I went to the hotel room and slept well.

Took some pictures of other brides who got married that day. this is little out of ordinary, she is a walking fort knox. the brides usually hate wearing so much of gold causing discomfort. it is the parents and relatives who insist on the bride wearing this much of gold. Not very safe. She wouldn't know if one piece of jewelry snaps and falls.

Blunt Knife
Travel and photography blog

42 comments:

ari4u said...

Awesome pics Rauf. Never been to a traditional south indian wedding, but now i know what to expect :-) I had tried payasam once, its yummm... I was told that some weddings take 3-4 days for all the rituals to complete, this one finished in a day i guess? How many days were you there in Kerala for? So much bling bling, wonder if the groom provides security too :-)

Lord Boo said...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!! i LOVE weddings ! but Poms, i have a doubt. usually, the Muhurtham ( the auspicious time ) is at a particular time, say 5:24, so if it's the same for all the 300 couples assembled there, do the wedding rites occur simultaneously ? oh hey, Amri is getting married, she wanted to come over to give the card :)

Rauf said...

Yes Aamir, traditional weddings take 3 days in Tamilnadu, Andhra being the longest, In Rajasthan wedding go on for days. In Kerala, most traditional wedding is very short, half a day at the most.
Here it took just a few minutes. Food is always tasty cooked in coconut oil.

Rauf said...

Aree ghodee muhurthan is not the exact time, it usually lasts an hour, here it was between 8.30 to 9.30 in the morning. i could see two mandapams where weddings are conducted simultaneously, otherwise they cannot finish all the two to three hundred weddings in an hour and they were pretty fast, there was a crowd but a patient crowd. Its a daily affair for them and it was pretty well organised.

Owee forgot about Amrita's wedding.
Tell her to call me and come, sure I'll go take pictures for you and mail them. sweet thing she is, love to see her wedding, will pooja dakshini sandhya be there ? would love to meet them too. I'll send you the pictures. take care
ummmmmmms and huggs

Don Iannone said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing yoru eye with us.

Rauf said...

Both of them are my very close and dear friends Don. Wedding was very simple, most of the Kerala weddings are short, very practical people, very rarely you get to see lavish weddings like other parts of the country.

Ruth said...

When you first wrote that Seema was not wearing much jewelry, I was surprised, thinking to myself, "but she's wearing quite a bit!" until I saw the later bride with tons of gold on her neck and arms! Thank you for taking us along through this amazing experience. Just wonderful. And such a handsome couple.

Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rauf said...

Gold plays an important role in Indian weddings Ruth. No gold No wedding. Poorest of the poor manage some gold for the wedding. That is the top priority. I don't know about diamonds if they play an important role or any role for that matter. forgot to mention that no dowry is involved in Sindu Nirmal wedding.

Ruth said...

In Turkey friends and family place gold on the bride at the wedding. Is it so in India?

Rauf said...

Everything happens before the wedding Ruth, usually it is the boy's parents who demand gold. this is a social evil which is in practice for hundreds of years. social evil crosses all the communal barriers. Dowry system is followed by all casts of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Girl's side is always the victim of such practice in all communities.

Nirmal and Sindu's wedding is the simplest of all weddings I have ever seen. It has the foundations of love and not money and possessions or property which is unfortunately an integral part of an Indian wedding.

the dowry is demanded by the boy's parents according to their social status, profession, employment. you will be surprised Ruth, a green card holder, settled in the US is a hot property and demands a dowry to his fancy, runs into millions of rupees, in cash and gold. these are arranged marriages.
I have witnessed these weddings.
the tragedy is that it is practiced by the most educated people

Claudia said...

Lovely couple. Lovely pictures.

Rauf said...

thank you Claudia, they live in Chennai, but the wedding took place in Kerala, it was the bride Sindu's wish that the wedding should be in a temple. the couple invited me to a dinner a few days ago. Sindu cooked a wonderful meal, we sat on the floor and had a great time, music was on. They have a beautiful flat. Sindu is a very studious, every thing in its place, very clean. She is a very good good artist.

ari4u said...

Pardon my ignorance, im new to the blogging world. I have a question to the experienced bloggers here. How can i subscribe to someone's blog so i get an email everytime there is a new post in their blog? There are so many interesting blogs here and it gets hard to keep checking every blog everytime to see what's new. If anyone knows of a solution, please let me know. Thanks in advance :-)

Ruth said...

Sorry, Rauf, I used the wrong name for the bride: Sindu. She's so lovely.

NOSTALGIE said...

I like your photos so much because I will learn alot about different cultures! Keep continuing!

Rauf said...

Thank you Nostalgie, there is more of it in blunt knife my photography and travel blog, please click on it at the end of the post.

mudassar said...

plz convay my wishes to nirmal. i am happy to hear that he got married. all my warm wishes to him. the couple is looking great..

jim said...

great post rauf, incredible experience, like being there.

Gangadhar said...

lovely pics,Rauf..It's a beautiful wedding...
Tnx for sharing the pics..
And wow..that's a great jewellary..Here in Andhra too...wedding ceremony last for a few hours.. I heard my parents wedding went for five days..ha ha..
btw the foody pic is so yummy...

Rauf said...

thanks Mudassar, I'll convey your best wishes to Nirmal and Sindu. They cancelled their honeymoon because of Nirmal's dad's death. They planned to go to a forest in Kerala. I Went Chasing the rain after the wedding, came back on 4th

Rauf said...

Jim even though the wedding was short but there was tremendous excitement. Watching other couples getting married was a terrific experience and a great atmosphere, lots of activity.

Rauf said...

terrific food Gangadhar. yes all the brides that I saw were wearing gold, silk saris, none of the grooms wearing western clothes all traditional stuff. temple weddings are real fun. Rain was additional fun but not for the people getting married. Perhaps the couple did not read my earlier post in blunt knife where i said I am going after the rain as I have a wedding to attend.

Rauf said...

Ruth, its fine, Seema is Sindu's sister in law. Her brother Ranjith and Seema came from Kentucky. Nirmal's Brother Vijay and sister in law Mahua(she is a Bengali) came from California. They are in the group photo. Very sweet people. Attending the wedding is most important for them, they spare no expenses.

Rauf said...

Aamir I'll get the info, have to visit some blogs, there is a sort of plug in which you have to add to the page a link or something. i have seen a messge pop up when i visit some blogs asking if we want to be informed when this blog is updated. Please give me sometime.

Rauf said...

Aamir I am wrong, sorry, they should have that link, where you key in your email and it will inform you of the update. please check Angelina's blog
http://angelinabox.blogspot.com/
sweet blog it is. there is a link or box at the end of her post. Ask her.

and if you have google desktop (which is a pain eats lot of memory) and bookmark the blog the updates keep popping up. YERDAKE it is.

Leila said...

Amazing! The colours, all the people, the lovely smiles on the happy couples faces! In Western weddings nowadays I don't think anyone ever gets the chance to be happy what with all the faffing around for nothing, all the money wasted, all the nervousness.

I'm sure there was a lot of money spent here, but it seems to me that none of it went to waste! They seem to have kept the initial aim of the wedding in sight...

I especially love the leaf under the food! I love that idea.

Wow, they sure do look happy! All the best for them!

rachel said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your country's culture and beauty with us all!!! We couldn't pay to get this type of education at the Universities here in the States! You are doing a great service to us all! I suppose it is also therapeutic for yourself! Georgeous couple! They don't need any money, the riches of the world emmanate from their souls!

Rauf said...

They could have spent a lot of money Laila, but they did not. Nirmal was very much against it. Nirmal and sindu both did not want a big show. Yes me too don't like rehearsed weddings Laila, its like a stage show for audience. Here everything was genuine, love and affection, genuine goofs. genuine chaos. No attempt was made either by Nirmal or by Sindu to put up a great show. It just happened.

Rauf said...

I'll convey your best wishes to the happy couple Laila.

Rauf said...

Rachel, I just present local scene, sometimes it is pleasant sometimes it is not. We do suffer from many social evils. Those who witnessed Nirmal Sindu wedding perhaps would learn that it is love which matters most. Wealth and property does not bring peace of mind. Here in India the groom is up for the highest bidder, who ever offers the maximum dowry gets him as his son in law. wedding is more of a business. Relationship deveops later

Imemine said...

Great events, awesome pictures, lovely brides, handsome grooms, and proud parents! Excellent coverage.
Gold and lots of it!

Rauf said...

Its a union of man and a woman Imemine. No big deal. After a week they can walk away. What holds them together is mostly love for each other, fear of the society, and children. That is why marriages are performed with hundreds of witnesses watching. a simple union is made complicated only for this reason that they should stay together for ever.

Patty said...

Gorgeous, Rauf! You've beautifully captured all these special moments in time! Were you the only one taking photos?

I wish Nirmal & Sindu lots of love & happiness!

Rauf said...

Thank you Patty, I'll convey your best wishes to Sindu and Nirmal. Yes there were many other photographers and videographers adding to the fun. Since most of them are local people they had already taken up positions earlier. I had to elbow my way through the crowd.
lots of love and huggs Patty

Leila said...

like i said, that's the way it should be

Rauf said...

Yes Laila. thats the way a wedding should be, but most of them are like business deals or an ostentatious display of wealth.

Cari said...

So sorry haven't posted!! I couldn't bring any of your newer posts up until today.
The bride looks stunning Rauf and the couple looks very happy
My prayers and blessings to them

Rauf said...

You must be busy Cari, Yes she looks stunning, and they are a happy and understanding couple.
Thanks for your prayers and blessings Cari.

e2d said...

hi rauf..Thanx for sharing these pictures with us.
They make a lovely couple and it does appear to be a simple wedding.Wish all weddings back home were like this..simple,based on love and trust and not some stupid business deal and matching horoscopes!!
Wishing happiness to Sindhu and Nirmal and I hope they havent given up on their plans to visit that forest in Kerala.
The food pic was sheer torture Rauf and no thanks for that. lol!

Rauf said...

Yea lovely couple e2dees, no horoscope here, but both Sindu and Nirmal are very religious. Sindu specially is a Krishna fan, Not Orient or khaitan fan, I meens devotee. perhaps that is why she chose to get married in guruvayur.

many of the pictures were meant for you to see e2dees. terrific atmosphere there, it was all happening. I did not take off my shirt to go inside the temple, and I don't know how to wear a veshti, though there were many to help me.

You gonna have lots of it e2dees wen you come for a holiday, wish you come for Onam. Sindu will make jaggery payasam. I have tasted it already at her place yumms it was. I know where to get raagi puttu.
Its like this, we have puttu kadala kari at one place and travel 100 KMs to have adai.

missing your posts e2dees please write something, you don have to make sense, nonsense is fine with me, thats what I am.

i'll pass on your best wishes to Sindu and Nirmal. they are in a tranquil place, leading a quiet happy life, there is music. Sindu has ear for carnatic music, Nirmal is all drums and band baaja like me.

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