Sorry about the huge blog entry, but it took me all day to choose which pictures to select and now I have to explain it! Held at the Rockleigh Country Club in New Jersey, this was biggest day of all the Hindi wedding festivities. So many rituals took place that I couldn't put my cameras down for a second!
I will explain a few starting with the procession of the groom, Tarun. The "baraat" is a custom from North India and Pakistan where the groom, accompanied by his family members travels on a horse to the wedding venue (often the bride's house). Before Tarun got on the horse there was a special ceremony where his family placed a turban on his head, which symbolizes honor. Then this enormous crowd of friends and family accompanied him, dancing and singing to the ceremony site. As you can see, they really got down and had a good time!
Tarun was then greeted at the altar or "mandap" by several family members. Followed by the bride, Malini who was initially carried to the ceremony in a "dholi", and then escorted down the aisle by her brother to the mandap. The couples then exchanged flower garlands, or "varmala". A Sacred fire, "Agni Puja", is fed by Ghee during the entire event, and symbolizes the illumination of mind, knowledge and happiness. There is a picture of the bride placing her right foot on a stone, "Shilarohana", symbolizing that she will be a strong support system for her husband during any difficulties. One of the last rituals involved the couple being tied together by sashes and encircling the sacred fire (considered as the witness to the ceremony) several times while they said their vows. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the couple was consistently laughing during the entire ceremony! I have soooo many great candid shots!
Part Three Soon to Come!