While we were in Hampi, our hotel filled up all of a sudden. We were the only guests in the place and then all of a sudden every room was full. People were accidentally walking into our room, because they thought they had the whole hotel. The staff explained that it was the wedding party for a marriage taking place the next day.
The next morning the whole gang appeared in beautiful sarees and their best shirts and headed down to the temple. Several young women surrounded Vero and the kids and insisted our whole family join them! We had already planned to visit the temple that day, so this was icing on the cake.
Our wonderful guide / interpreter for the day was a lovely young Indian woman named Gowri. She showed us around the temple, explained things to us, and had the Little Guy blessed by an elephant!
The wedding took place in the main temple building, with the happy (terrified looking) couple under a canopy of flowers. The guests were sitting on the floor with the women mainly on the left and the men mainly on the right. None of them could really see much, because there was a photographer and videographer standing in the front.
Five musicians played trumpets, drums, shakers (very loudly) in the near background, so I strongly doubt anyone could hear very well either.
The ceremony was a beautiful sequence of rituals and traditions that were totally incomprehensible to us. I asked some other guests about some of the rituals and they said “Nah, they don’t mean anything. They’re just traditions.”
They’ve got to come from somewhere though. You don’t tie people’s hands together around a coconut and pour in water, then milk, then something else, for nothing. Handfuls of rice on each other’s heads, wedding rings in a bowl of milk, then fished out, then back in. Toe painting, chanting, singing, flowers, coloured powders, amazing!
After about a half an hour of incomprehensible (to us) steps, we threw rice at the happy couple and they were married!
Once the wedding was finished, Gowri and the family insisted we join them for lunch. We were happy to agree, and sat down on a blanket spread on the floor in another temple building.
While we were waiting for the food to be ready I asked Gowri “Are you related to the bride or the groom?”
“The groom is my brother” she replied.
“What!? You spend your brother’s wedding shepherding around some foreigners you just met?”
“Oh no, it’s okay, I have been to many weddings.” she said with a laugh.
Lunch was delicious, with different members of the family walking down the lines of guests dishing different things. The kids especially loved the sweet laddu.
After lunch we took some more pictures and then headed back to our hotel for a rest. Just watching that wedding was exhausting.
Another amazing experience in incredible India.
The temple has a resident elephant named Lakshmi who will bless for a fee. You give her (paper) money and she bonks you on the head with her trunk. If you give her coins, she takes them and that’s it, sucker.
We had already met her one morning as she was taking her morning bath.