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Friday, November 27, 1998 Published at 16:55 GMT

World: South Asia

Krishna devotee ties the knot

Traditional marriage - except for the groom

A woman in India has taken the unusual step of marrying a picture of the God Krishna.

Snehlata Rajput, a 45-year old doctor, says she fell in love with Lord Krishna when she was 15.

"Her father was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, and in her childhood she had this vision of Krishna coming to life and taking some cream which was offered to him," said Muneesh Kumar, a nephew of the bride.

Priest Mohan Das declared Krishna and Ms Rajput man and wife after a 90-minute ceremony, during which 250 guests sang religious songs and danced to the beat of drums.

[ image: Ceremony took place outside bride's house]
Ceremony took place outside bride's house
The bride draped a garland of marigolds and peacock feathers around the portrait as priests chanted ancient Sanskrit songs.

The groom was carried to the bride's house by devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly known as Hare Krishnas.

After the ceremony, he was taken inside for a "rest", where he was seated on a red velvet-cushioned chair.

Although a portrait was used for the wedding, Ms Rajput will be sharing her nuptial bed with a one-metre marble statue of Krishna.

The charm of the rascally cowherd

The bride has had numerous other marriage proposals, but she turned then all down, including one from a fellow physician, also named Krishna, who proposed just weeks ago.

"It is a bit unusual, but we are all happy that she has realised her lifelong desire to become one with her Lord," said family member Shipa Kumar.

Krishna, believed to have been born 3,500 years ago, married 101 brides during his lifetime.

He is one of the most widely worshipped of all Hindu gods, and is known not also as a brave warrior against evil, but also as a rascally flute-playing cowherd who flirts with village women.

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