A Rural Asian Wedding Travelogue, rajasthan
Comments 102

When a wedding arrived Magically in Rajasthan

It was a time of peerless freedom. I was a young Yogi travelling with a backpack, pen, diary and a camera travelling through villages, walking on the mud roads of rural India, in search of stories.

I had just finished a two-day assignment for an Indian magazine, documenting the popular cattle fair that took place around the ancient temple site of Pushkar. And while at it I had learnt that after this fair in the ancient city of Brahma, the camels will travel for weeks on road through the desert and forests, crossing the oldest hill range on earth, the Aravalli to take part in another fair, hundreds of miles down the western coast in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. I wanted to find that route and travel with them, with the camel tribes documenting, and writing about this beautiful, unusual journey.

But on my way, I couldn’t find any transport, which could have taken me to the state highway, from where I could find the travelling camels. It was night and I had stopped just before a forest that was about to start, fearing a wild animal or may be dacoits or anything else. It was the dark of a moonless night. I sat by the road, near an old temple, which was closed. There was no body to be seen. No human to ask for food or stay or even the way. It had been over an hour, and I had decided to call it a day. I was taking out my sleeping bag to slide in quietly on the temple floor when a dim sound of blaring loudspeaker started coming from far. It was really strange to hear something that sounded like a collective noise when for past one hour I had not even seen a dog. There was only one lamppost, far, hanging from a Neem Tree, the only light. Not enough to even see the symbols on the adjacent wall.

The sound slowly started feeling like a ceremony. The temple floor that I had chosen to sleep soon turned to be a stop for passing wedding processions, the families with brides and grooms used to stop and pray to the local temple deity before resuming their journey to the wedding ceremony. And within minutes the whole space transformed. People in jeeps arrived, followed by two buses. As the groom was entering the temple, with his family assisting him, our eyes met.

People had come prepared. Within minutes many groups had opened their mini bars, drinking in the dark under different trees, talking, laughing, planning, sitting, spitting, eating, drinking water from the hand pump. There was a well nearby behind which mothers took children to attend their calls of nature.

I was writing all these observations when the groom came out, he lit a cigarette and asked me how come am I here. I smiled and asked him if he is getting married? Yes. Where is the wedding? I asked, he said in Deesa, 200 kms from here on Rajasthan-Gujarat border. He took a deep puff. Are you alone? Yes. Would you like to come along? He asked, 5 seconds of thanking nature, i told him that if he does not mind I would like to document this journey! And since that moment I became groom’s personal documentarian.

It became one of the most distinct memories that i still carry. Sharing with you the next three days of my life with Khushwinder Meena and his wedding in Rajasthan.



: ँ :

Long before starting this blog, for a few years i took up a project which i named A Rural Asian Wedding Travelogue, a project that i continued for a few years documenting rural weddings across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. I still wish to continue. If anyone reading this resides in a part of Indian continent, who would like his/her wedding or even a friends wedding to be documented, i will be very happy to hear from you.

Also read from the same project :

A song from my Parents wedding, also
To a monsoon wedding and a rare feast and
When a wedding found me travelling in Mumbai


: ँ :


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste

And I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a Traveller, my lessons from ten years on the Road before you coarse on your own Road to Nara or come along becoming a part of this ever growing family.

 : ँ :


To follow my walks through the rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at 
Narxtara | Road to Nara | Narayan Kaudinya

This entry was posted in: A Rural Asian Wedding Travelogue, rajasthan

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Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

102 Comments

  1. This story is the continuation of the author’s writing about rural India that the readers find so interesting, and once printed and published in the book form, it will be read all over the world, not only because there are large Indian communities in most western countries, but because
    the not Indian readers are fascinated by the author’s exotic and colorful descriptions and the beautiful photography, that is the author’s own, as he is a renowned filmmaker.
    This hugely talented writer, Narayan Tushar Kaudinya, has to be congratulated for creating another masterpiece. Long may he continue!

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much Joanna, for your words leave me speechless. They set such high standards that i fear might only keep chasing.

      But you being a world class reviewer of the storytellers, i can only imagine what all you must be observing and how well you already know things are going to be.

      Yes, a book of stories on rural India would be amazing for even myself to see someday, someday 🙂

      Like

      • Dear Narayan,
        You wholly deserve every word I wrote, otherwise, I would not have praised you. The readers think the same, in fact only after having emails from your readers saying that they agree with me, I realised that you wrote a message to me here. I know how busy you are being in demand for your filmmaking, but please don’t forget that you have promised to write this book, and I am waiting!

        Joanna

        Like

  2. Narayan Ji
    I understand the experience you had. I was posted in Ahmedabad Airport in 3 spells and stayed over 17 years. I had visited remote villages there including Rann of Kutch. Also I was transferred to Pratapgarh in Rajasthan Gujarat Border.
    I had attended many tribal ceremonies.
    That was fantastic period of my service life.
    I am so happy to see all the photos you have posted.
    Exactly what I have seen there.
    You have penned it so lovely.
    Great 👍
    Have a blissful time ahead.
    Regards 🙏

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dear Narayan,
    All the pictures themselves are taking me to trip to nostalgia. These old world wedding functions, not much pomp and show and standard pangat main baith kar khana( I so hated it as a kid) and the simple and pure smiles not just smiling for camera ❤️. You are definitely a brave person to not only venture out alone but also sitting patiently all throughout. Best part this post captures the innocence of those times all through 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. How very fascinating and colourful, but I wouldn’t want to be a wedding planner in Rajasthan! So many things to coordinate. A friend of mine went to the camel festival in Rajasthan many years ago and I still have one of his photographs on my wall. India…what an astonishing place. I was lucky enough to visit three or four times but never long enough. It always made a big impact on me. What is happening in that last photograph?

    Liked by 3 people

    • ha ha Trust me Caro… you would love to be a wedding planner here with so many colours and such rich texture. But tell me are you a wedding planner too?

      This is a fine memory than, it took you to the friend’s image.

      Really, you have been here and three to four times, Wao. But yes would be great if you plan to stay in the himalayas for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Also glad you asked about the last photograph. She is the bride and after coming to her new home it is a ritual that she lies down for a while around deities.

      Thank you so much for writing Caro.
      Narayan x

      Liked by 2 people

      • I thought it must be something like that. It’s very involved getting married in that culture! No, I am not a wedding planner! I was just looking at a photograph my travelling companion took when we were in Tibet in November 1986. It’s two bleak mountain tops and a man riding toward us on his horse with a calf in tow. I remember that man’s face as if it was yesterday. Such a beautiful face, such beautiful people. I think it’s my spiritual home. There was something so special about being there in those mountains. That man (and I!) are old now. I like to believe he is still alive somewhere and I hope life has been kind to him, though I am aware of how difficult it is likely to have been.
        So nice to talk to you, Nara!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael Graeme says

    That looked like quite the occasion, Narayan. I could almost feel I was there. Wonderful photography and narrative.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I must say that the photographs are amazingly clear. You did an awesome job capturing the moments in time. I enjoyed reading your article. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading your next post. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Your photos are terrific! I feel like I was there. I have to add that the white horse seems to be so calm even with all the lights and festivities going on around him.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Anne. Delighted that you could travel. Also one thing i love about your reviews on the posts is that i know only you can see the animal beings like no one other, and of course, especially the horses.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Also i think that Indian horses by now, must have learnt to enjoy or ignore all the festivities and chaos that go on around them, in India.

      Thank you so much again, dear Anne.
      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Another fascinating post, Narayan and as always, transports one to a different yet familiar world. Love the atmospheres you create, through words and pictures. Are the watercolors, yours too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Diti, your words delight me, thank you so much and yes you would your know how rich each region of our country is and what it brings is completely different yet always colorful, as life should be.

      Like

    • And happy that you see in such details, the images. The water colors were done by a friends who was a painter and joined me later.

      Thank you so much for your words.
      Narayan x

      Like

    • Cheryl, it is probably because of you and some very wonderful people i am connected with here makes me share everything that has come along my way as a writer. I enjoy your words, more so enjoy this company which you are a constant part of.

      Like

  9. Beautiful photos Narayan. It must haver been such a shock, a good shock I think, to find yourself surrounded by a wedding party after being alone in the dark for a while. I know I’ve mentioned to you previously that I’ve (briefly) attended an Indian wedding so I can imagine the noise and excitement that suddenly surrounded you.
    This brought back all the memories of my own experience. Lovely.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beautiful Alison. Such delightful words.
      O yes, i didn’t know how, or what was happening. Whole space changed within seconds. It was very close to magic, as i had to put it in the title.

      Yes i remember, you mentioned it; these weddings are somewhere the cultural carrier here, brings people together. Make them happy with their pomp and show.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m fascinated by the wide array of colors and the expressive body rituals you captured so realistically in photo here . The bride and groom appear to be very important figures here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, as they say the most important thing you can do while in India is to show up to a wedding and the rest will happen around you. Actually we Indians needed an excuse to celebrate anything, everything and thus even a wedding became thus, a celebration for even a bystander.

      Like

  11. Lovely wedding clicks from Rajasthan
    A glimpse of tradition and culture
    Thank you for sharing ,
    I am happy that I am also travelling on this beautiful road to Nara along with other travellers 😊❣️

    Like

  12. Wow.what a description of marriage in Rajasthan.I am from Rajasthan.so much happy to see your this post.that all are normal for me but amazing to them who has not came in Rajasthan.I see your post a wedding in your friends kaushik’s village.there was non-veg.food unable to eat for you.but my daughter’s wedding is held in Haydrabad,Andhra Pradesh.the guys of groom have asked us whatever we wanted to eat in wedding so there was not any non-vegetarian items in wedding party.pure holy climate was presented there.even though your three wedding’s posts are interesting and informative for me.really ,our India has many colours in rituals those are Indian culture’s great specialities.Weldone,my dear!!

    Like

  13. Those magical moments you capture with your lens is so impressive, Narayan. But it is your words in describing the scenes, the backstory, and the emotion that makes it so real for us readers. Wonderful work, my friend. Wishing you a wonderful finish to autumn and for greater things ahead. Take care ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dal, your presence always uplifts me. I hope you are planning soon to travel for long again. Thank you, thank you much.

      Even though a simmering, tough time is arriving these winters, but i will take your beautiful wish as an autumn leaf for memory.

      Thank you again Dal
      Narayan x

      Like

      • Thank you, Narayan. Your note on the tough time simmering with this coming winter is noted, a feeling of taking care of the soul and those around us ~ with those beautiful memories of autumn and the past to guide us. Cheers to you, my friend.

        Like

  14. From documenting travelling camel to ending up documenting a stranger’s journey to his wedding…how crazy and awesome. I’m sure he didn’t remain a stranger for long. I love how he asked you to come along after only meeting you, and how you immediately said yes to this new direction.

    Like

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