THE INCREDIBLE INDIAN WEDDING
- 31 May 2016
India has always been a fascinating place for me. Its colourful and chaotic city life sits alongside breathtaking world heritage sites that leave you wanting more. I'm so thankful to have been part of a wedding celebration there recently and my compliments go to the lovely couple for pulling off the incredible feat. Here are my highlights of the week.
After almost missing my flight (much to the dismay of my travel companion) we arrived at The Claridges, an elegant 1950's style hotel with cabanas in the front lawn. There was a welcome pack thoughtfully put together for us containing travel essentials for India; our action packed event schedule, crispy lentil snacks, bindhis, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, aspirin and cipro.
The next morning we visited Humayan's Tomb. On UNESCO's world heritage list, the Mughal garden tomb was actually the inspiration for the Taj Mahal constructed a hundred years later. Sightseeing was followed by a lovely BBQ, my first camel ride, delicious Indian dishes, and in typical British fashion; croquet and lots of Pimm's cocktails.
The wedding service took place at one of the oldest churches in Delhi, St James Church. Naturally, the bride and groom both made their grand entrances!
The happy couple!
A peakcock feather fan was just the accessory to complete my outfit. We all got on a bus and winded along narrow Delhi street to a beautiful wedding reception under the stars.
Party animal shenanigans.
Mr & Mrs doing their first dance.
We recovered from the festivities over a picnic in Lodi Gardens. The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed packed lunches and more Pimm's.
The boy's archery game got highjacked by kids in the neighbourhood.
The next day, sad to leave Delhi, we joined a 60-strong convoy for a five and half hour drive to Jaipur. We arrived at Samode Bagh, a beautiful hunting lodge turned hotel. Though it was originally the maharajah's hunting lodge, it was the most glamourous tent I've ever stayed in. We were surrounded vast gardens and courtyards.
Bollywood Night at Samode Palace was unreal. Sari dressers expertly draped us while the boys got ready, and everyone looked fabulous! The next time you're in Delhi, makes sure to go to Khan Market for saris, homeware and jewellery.
We were greeted at Samode Palace by an impressive fireworks display, camels, musicians and maidens showering us with sweet-smelling jasmine. The Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) with its beautifully frescoed and inlaid walls where we had cocktails before our Bollywood themed dinner.
The beautiful bride channeled Princess Jasmine on the night. We danced the night away with our Bollywood moves.
Holi has to be one of the highlights for me. The iconic Hindu festival of colour and sharing love starts with prayers and then it's a free for all with water guns and coloured powder covering every person in sight. Back at Samode Bagh, we got dressed in all white and waited.
As soon the tabla player started, the garden turned into a battle field and it was every man for himself. Everyone was armed with super soakers, extra ammo and handfuls of coloured powder. Not even children were spared. Pandemonium ensued. We got soaked from head to toe, covered in colour and broke out into a Bollywood dance off.
Despite the Mughal tombs, Rajasthani palaces, amazing culinary spreads, glamourous dancers, the camels, the elephants, the horses and fireworks displays, what I found most memorable was all the love in the air...The warmth and thoughtfulness that went into making everyone feel taken care of shows just the kind of people they are. Fabulous.