[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Westerners take to Indian weddings

By Narayan Bareth
BBC correspondent in Jaipur

Wedding in Jaipur
Swiss couple Marcos and Alamsa (right) at their wedding in Jaipur
Western couples are getting married in India in increasing numbers, believing the sacred rites will make their marriages last longer.

The city of Jaipur in Rajasthan is one of the top choices.

Swiss couple Marcos and Alamsa arrived here for a wedding that, themselves apart, is wholly Indian.

There is the magnificent haveli - a traditional residence of the rich serving as the venue.

And there is the mandap - the highly decorated place set aside for the marriage rites.

Here in front of the sacred fire, the priest chants the holy mantras - the invocations of blessings from the gods - as the couple walk round the altar seven times.

The words seem to carry more weight than Western ceremonies for the couples who come here.

It is as if their marriage will never break if it is made according to proper Indian rites.

Booming business

Adorned in Indian wedding clothes, the groom's face shines with joy.

Wedding in Jaipur
It's full of colours, beautiful dresses, ceremonies and of course wonderful Indian music
Marcos, groom

"This is very different from Western marriages," says Marcos.

"It's full of colours, beautiful dresses, ceremonies and, of course, wonderful Indian music."

Alamsa looks stunning in her Indian wedding gown and with mehndi - henna designs - on her hands.

She has complete faith in the unique ceremonies in India.

"Unfortunately, European marriages are not that stable," she says.

The event was organised by a travel agent, Varun Khanna, who has organised many such weddings.

He also performed the holy rite of giving away the bride, which is traditionally performed by the bride's father.

Mr Khanna says that the demand for such marriages is increasing.

Many other travel agents are also working on marriage themes and say they are getting a lot of work.

Suresh Kumar, from one Rajasthan travel service, says not only foreigners but also non-resident Indians prefer to come to India to marry.

Pushkar, Udaipur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer are some of the leading cities where such marriages have taken place.

Glimpsing a fairytale wedding
22 Jun 04  |  South Asia
India mega-wedding justifies hype
11 Feb 04  |  South Asia
Star show for India's 'mega-wedding'
10 Feb 04  |  South Asia
Two brides-in-one for Indian groom
31 Oct 03  |  South Asia
Astrologers trigger wedding fever
27 Nov 03  |  South Asia

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific