Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Princess of India -- a Wedding in India

Our daughter, Anna Lara, with such a Scottish name, was married in India last week.

This required a trip of 8,000 miles just to get there.  That's two 10-hour plane flights.

Then we had to travel from Delhi to the hometown.

Once there we began three days of ceremonies and celebrations.

The first day, Mehandi, involved henna. (photo Sarah Lambert Cook Bender)

Then a social gathering and party.

The next day was Bhaat, the gathering, arrival, invitation, and receiving of the groom's mother's brothers, known as "mamas".  Believe me, the words can be very challenging for Americans, especially when a man introduces himself as a mama.
This took a lot of time and was like an occasion of state.  The residence was lavishly decorated and there was abundant food.

That night, as part of Bhaat, there was Godh Bharai, the filling of the lap of the bride with gifts and blessings, including dolls to represent children.
                                               (photo Sarah Lambert Cook Bender)
That was followed by Sangeet which is a dance show that one might compare to Bollywood or American Idol or solos at Talent Night.  Great production!  And what a lot of talent!  Followed by a dance party until 2:00 a.m.
                                                (photo Sarah Lambert Cook Bender)

The third day was the wedding.  The bride prepares while the groom's family begins Baraat.  The groom is seen off on his horseback journey of victory.  When he reaches the wedding venue his friends dance and make a commotion to keep him from the bride.  That can take HOURS.  When he finally reaches the gate (in this case, the tent, and it was a HUGE red tent) the bride's mother greets him and measures him then lets him pass.
                                                   (photo Sarah Lambert Cook Bender)
Then everyone proceeds to the Mandapa where the father of the bride gives her away.  Then the bride and groom take vows, Kandayaan is followed by Mangal Phere, and Sindoor.

After that we ate and danced and visited until about 3:00 a.m. when I pushed them and their car out of the tent.  We reckoned that Anna Lara was carrying 40 pounds of fabric and jewelry.

And, of course, we had to drive back to Delhi at 6:30 a.m. to get through the dense fog and catch our flight, the first of two to take us 8,000 miles home over two days.

And the bride and groom?  Welcomed by their parents into their home.

(photo Vivek Garg)

One Hour in Paradise

That's me at Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi.  The locals pronounce it hah-my-ans and they just say "Delhi".  It was constructed in 1570 by the Mughal emperor and is a grand example of Persian influence, the Persian extension into India, Islamic style and values, and the Mughal Empire period in India.

It is also a wonderful example of the design of the walled garden, or "paradise".  That's the meaning of that word.

 At the points of the compass there are gates.  Each one is different and they represent different purposes and people.  This gate was for the women of the family and honors them.

 There are also ceremonial temples and shrines in other portions.  Water runs along the paths to fountains and reflecting pools in clean mathematical symmetry.

 This gate is for the pumping station and is at the wall that was once bordered by the river.  Another gate acted like a cabana or bath house for ritual cleansing as well as the welcoming gate for guests entering from the river.

 It's a pleasant and meditative place, ideal for strolling and talking, and visitors have plenty of freedom to look around.  We saw eagles, peacocks and other birds.

Be sure to notice the other gates and enclosures as well as the museum which has a model diorama and explains the layout and significance of the garden.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My journals on my daughter's web site...

My daughter, the artist Sarah-Lambert Cook Bender, has a post about my journals.

Take a look.