Royal Palace wedding in Jaipur
Jaipur – India’s famous ancient city – was witness to a grand royal wedding that took place on 1st February 2017
The old-world charm,grandeur and pageantry that has for centuries marked Rajput wedding ceremonies were on full display for two days. Appropriately, the wedding camps were lovely heritage palaces both nearly two hundred years old. While one palace became a temporary home of the bridegroom’s party the other of the bride’s. Both the palaces were beautifully decorated a day before the wedding events that formally began on 31st January 2017.
On the entrance to the palaces musicians played shehnai and nagara – the latter a membranophone instrument played with drum sticks. Music flowing from these instruments are believed to create harmony and a sense of welcome to guests and lend dignity and grace to the proceedings.
About 200 guests forming bridegroom’s party arrived from every corner of India and Nepal and were traditionally welcomed on arrival. The atmosphere was convivial and many had met after years.The groom and his immediate family too stayed in the same palace and so did the priests who had to perform the rituals.
At the bride’s camp the ceremonies began at dawn on the 31st. Offerings were made to Lord Ganesha – the benign God with the elephant trunk. On all happy occasions his blessings are sought first so that there is no hindrance of any kind.
In the afternoon the “mamera” ceremony was performed. During this colourful and poignant ceremony immediate and extended family members of the bride’s mother bless the bride and give presents.
It is on this day that the bride’s women relatives and friends apply turmeric paste on her forehead,feet and hands to make her glow on the big day !
The ceremony over, all had a delicious lunch.
On the wedding day both the camps were agog with activities. Richly caparisoned horses,camels and elephants and military bands had lined up by 6 PM. The groom’s party – men and women dressed in regalia – left for the bride’s camp at 7 PM. On reaching the entrance to the camp the groom mounted an elephant and led the party to be met ceremonially by the bride’s father and other family members. While the guests were led to the lawns of the palace for drinks and dinner – truly sumptuous – the groom was escorted to an ornate room for the “pheras” – a ceremony performed by the bride and groom around the sacred fire with priests chanting hymns in Sanskrit. The ceremony lasted up to 11:30 PM.
The groom’s entourage left for their camp at 11 PM , we – my wife and me left for home at 1 AM on 2nd February – happy that everything went off so beautifully.