I am at the end of my travel recaps of India. Even tough I needed three weeks to publish everything I am glad I still did it.
The main reason why we chose to visit India is the wedding of a good friend from my boyfriend. The wedding couple invited us and we couldn’t say no to an Indian wedding, could we?
India started with Mumbai, then Bangalore, Kerala, Alleppey and now the main event came.
We had to come from Alleppey to Erode, a city in the country of Tamil Nadu. We reserved a train and we got a free spot only for one that went at 7pm and arrived at 2am in the morning. What could we do? The train of course had a delay so we took off at 8pm after a whole afternoon of waiting for it on a train station.
Again we had “luck”, as two families with 4 children were right next to us, well actually above us in the sleeper compartment. Sounds ok? Not really. We ended up waiting for them until 11pm to move their things and go to sleep. The worst thing is to be at the bottom of the sleeper because you have to wait for everyone to go to sleep before you do. We actually almost missed the train station because they don’t announce the station, so you have to figure where you are on your own. A good tip: load your google maps on your phone when you have access to wifi and later just turn on your GPS so you’ll at least see where approximately you are.
I didn’t know much about how the wedding ceremony will go but the groom and the bride did a great job informing us. The wedding lasts for two days and those days are filled with ceremonies and rituals. South Indian weddings are vegetarian and alcohol free, no utensils are used with the food – all fingers and appetite.
Weddings emphasize bringing together two families as much as bringing together the bride and the groom. We attended a South Indian Hindu wedding. They’ve typically been a three day event, starting with the Naal Virundhu, a celebration hosted by both of the families for the bride and groom. The second day is the precursor of the actual wedding. Relatives gather on this day and erect the Pandhakkaal – a pre-wedding ritual conducted by the bride and grooms families in order to seek blessings from the Almighty. The important day arrives – the Muhurtham day – at the predetermined (auspicious) hour. A couple is seated at the marriage platform at the temple and the Thaali (the sacred yellow thread) is tied three times around brides neck. After that they walk together seven steps which means that the marriage is complete.
Our schedule for the next three days was intense. On Saturday noon we had lunch at the grooms cousin after they completed the Pandhakkaal. Dinner feast was at his grandparents farm house. A lot and I mean a lot of amazing food, music and people. All together we were about 13 people which were not from India and the families arranged us silk saris for the wedding – and they were breathtaking.
The wedding day came on Sunday morning and we got ready with a help of a beautician who helped us tie the saris. They are made of silk from Karichmandu, where the best silk saris come from. We needed the woman to tie the saris because how to nicely wrap 5,5 m (18 feet) silk around you so it looks amazing? A challenge.
We ended up a bit late but were at the Temple at 9am. They already started the rituals. It was just interesting to see all those rituals performed by the priests and at the end the tying of the knot and walking those seven steps. The groom and the bride were actually really busy as they had to pay respect to the numerous gods and temples in the surroundings.
We had lunch at the paternal grandparents of the groom and went home to rest. In the evening a reception for the friends and families was made and it ended up to be a great fun night as we had a chance to spend a bit more time with the couple.
On the third day we had a free morning as the main reception was in the evening so they arranged us some visits – first was the Handloom factory and then the Dairy milk factory The Milky Mist. I ended up going just to the Handloom factory and had to skip the diary factory because well lets just say my stomach couldn’t handle anything that day.
In the evening the final reception was organised and that concluded the three day celebrations we attended. It was just magnificent. Everything, from the venue, to food and they were just beautiful. It’s a shame we actually didn’t have so much time to spend it with them because it is a custom that the bride and the groom take photos with the guests that evening so they were quite busy because in total 3500 quest were officially invited.
After 3 weeks, so many cities, people, events and memories it was time to head home. Traveling back home was long and tiring but we were actually pretty happy to be back in our small Slovenia where peace and quiet were the most appreciated things. India was definitely memorable and I am happy I got the opportunity to visit it, to meet amazing people and experience new culture and traditions. But you know what? I love traveling even more just because when you get back home you really appreciate what you have and where we live.
Everyone should experience that!