By Jaideep Sarin
Chaunni Kalan (Punjab), Jan 22: Fascinated with the colourful Indian weddings, foreign couples are saying their marriage vows in a small village of Punjab's Hoshiarpur district.
At the Citrus County, a resort in the midst of Kinnow farms in Chaunni Kalan, couples from Australia have had the experience of going through the rituals of the Indian wedding.
Be it the 'Mehendi' (Henna application) or 'Sangeet' (musical night) ceremonies or being part of a lively baraat (groom's procession), the couples get hands-on experience of a Punjabi wedding.
Interestingly, these couples are already married and in their middle-age. Some of them are even grandparents.
The are accompanied by their friends, relatives, children and even their grandchildren.
"We have had a few couples in the last three years who wanted to experience the Indian-style marriage. This year, we had two couples who exchanged vows with full fanfare. We have had guests from Melbourne, Sydney and other places in Australia," Citrus County owner Harkirat Ahluwalia told IANS.
Ahluwalia, also a new-age agriculturist-entrepreneur, points out that the marriages performed at his resort may not be the typical "big-fat-Punjabi-wedding", but provides a simple yet colourful experience to the guests.
Among other things, the marriage ceremony even includes a 'Jaago', a traditional rural Punjab ceremony in which village women carry a decorated earthen pot with candles on the heads and sing songs.
They also dance to lively 'Bhangraa' and 'Gidda'. Pipe-band by ex-servicemen also features in the wedding.
A colourful chariot adds to the charm of the 'baraat' with the grooms and children seated atop.
"There is a turban-tying ceremony for the men and Mehendi and bangles ceremony for the ladies which our guests enjoy a lot," Ahluwalia said.
The guests from abroad are briefed beforehand on buying traditional Indian outfits like Kurta-payjama' (for men) with Indian jackets and 'Salwar-Kameez' and 'lehengas' for women.
"The colourful ceremonies here get the women really interested. They love to wear glass bangles and Indian dresses," said Professor Manjeet Paintal who attended a few of the weddings.
Guests and children accompanying the couples find the range of ceremonies very lively and amusing.
"It is a spectacle. We really enjoyed the Indian wedding ceremony at the resort. The hosts really take care of the guests and give them a lifetime experience," Sasha Lewis, who is from Melbourne, told IANS.
She attended one of the wedding ceremonies with her friends here.
Village residents too are amused by the foreigners getting married in the Indian style.
"It is quite enjoyable for us to see that our guests from abroad are enjoying," Anil, a resident of this village, said.
Update: 24 Jan, 2017