18 Februar 2010
Hyderabad, Timezone: 1001 nights
Ive never learnt as much about Indian culture, customs and especially hospitality as on this trip to Hyderabad. When we returned from dinner, fireworks had started at our hotel, a party crowd outside invited us to dance with them, everybody dressed up in vibrant colours for the party of a lifetime – a wedding! About 1000 people were invited, and they seriously asked me to join in as well to experience the hindu marriage ceremony.
What a chance! I thought I could be just a quiet admirer, taking some photos of Indian princesses, but soon I found myself inside, shyly hoping not to impose on anybody. No chance to shy out here – soon they introduced me to the parents in law, and let me take a photo of the wedding couple at the reception. In India, the reception takes 4 hours, as there are 1000 guests to be greeted! And the brides beautifully embroidered red wedding gown weighs about 20 kg...
I met friends and sisters of the bride, and they patiently explained the wedding customs to me. And were quite pleased to see how much I enjoy the Indian food. All vegetarian, no alcohol and no smoking at all, this comes close to paradise! The most heavenly food you can imagine (Just the rose water perfume of the „mouth freshener“ was a bit alien to me, and everybody carefully watched my face when I tried it. I bravely ate the second one as well, a small sacrifice for a big experience), I wish I had fasted for the day – which is what the wedding couple does until they finish their ceremony. After the reception, a lot of mantras are spoken – I wish I could understand the sanskit, I like the sound of it very much. The parents bond to their children is slowly loosend until they let them go a new path as a newly wedded couple. The highlight is the walking around the fire for seven times, which finalizes the new bond and symbolizes that the couple stays together for the next seven lives.
At about 4am, they finish the ceremony, but really it goes on for another week, where the brides goes back to her parents house, the groom will pick her up, and they go on to different events like these for a week before they may finally leave and get a rest on their honeymoon.
What a privilege to have met such generous, welcoming people!