“Boys, play the Naumati (Nepalese wedding bands). It is the good time to initiate the marriage rituals,” announced a priest at the premises of Nepal Scouts, Head Office at Lainchaur. It was quarter to four P.M. on Friday.
Elephant was decorated to carry the bridegroom to the wedding place. Bridegroom was dressed in Nepalese costumes and worn dhaka cap. He was robust and handsome though his beards were grey. Bride was in red sari and Nepalese marriage costumes with chura pote (bangle and beads). Her face was curtained with red transparent wedding veil. Her eyes and face gleamed as if she were in her early twenties. She smiled and looked at the bridegroom who was gentle with outstanding looks. His face was like red red rose.
They were captured in the frames of cameras. About one and half dozen foreign tourists, especially from Australia and Britain, and other two dozens of Nepalese invitees gathered at the moment. The bands played the Naumati and marriage rituals were launched. The boys in typical Nepalese costumes and girls in gunyu choli (sari and blouse) danced in tune with the wedding music. Two tourists were to be bonded in spiritual knots.
Bridegroom Alan Bosher, 55, British and Barbara Bosher, 56, Australian were tying in knot again in their life. The marriage was arranged by the Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure, Kathmandu, and Travel Director, Australia. The couple chose to get married in the Nepalese way.
The wedding procession started heading towards Ciao Italian Restaurant, adjoining to the Explore Himalaya Office at Thamel, a tourist junction. Alan was on the elephant and Barbara was on a van. The wedding procession walked on the road as per the Nepalese tradition. The traffic jammed and onlookers were amazed by the marriage scene of Western couple in Eastern (Nepalese) style. After about five minutes walk, the procession reached to the marriage site, called Yagya.
Swyamber ceremony in which bridegroom puts ring of eternal and unending love on bride’s finger and dubo (holy grass) garland on her neck was performed and bride also put the garland on his neck. Every details of Nepalese wedding culture were performed. The fire was burning at the centre of Yagya. Alan and Barbara went round the fire, which was holy eyewitness of the marriage. “Oh! This is just too much,” one of the tourists said in jubilant joy.
The priest cited the mantra (chants) in Sanskrit and Alan put sindur (mix of red and orange powder), which is believed the initiation of marriage life, on head from forehead to centre of the head. The bride was smiling shyly and laughing. “I am celebrity,” the bride compared herself.
It was time to bid the bride good bye from the part of the parents. Father bid farewell to his daughter. Priest Ramesh Adhikari played the role of the bride’s father. The groom rode on horse and bride was carried on doli, a wooden carrier to take bless from Lord Ganesh. They visited the Ganesh temple at Thamel. And finally, the bride was taken to the groom’s house, the office of the Explore Himalaya.
The bride was welcomed in accordance with the marriage rituals. The invitees danced and enjoyed in the tune of wedding bands. Wendy Ronksley from South Australia danced in the music very well. “It’s beautiful. It has a lot of meaning relating to friendship, harmony and love. I like the Nepalese marriage culture,” Ronksley remarked cheering. “It is very different from our culture which is simply general. We don’t have elephant and horse. But it is very unique and grand ceremony,” said she who is visiting Tibet and Bhutan at this time.
Bride Barbara said that it was very exciting, intricate, wonderful and serene. “I felt excited after 34 years of my first marriage and am very happy,” She added. Groom Alan commented that he was quite pleased in having marriage in spiritual way. “It was really special and systematic.” “My bride is absolutely beautiful,” he expressed joy. “We have expected to live a good and decent life after this holy marriage,” both of them who were father of three children said rhythmically at a time. Their first son is 34 year old.
Mock marriage was initiated from the last year so as to introduce the value of long lasting marital affair among Nepalese people to the rest of the world. Priest Adhikari, who became father of the bride in such 13 marriages, said that the Nepalese culture is bond of long lasting relationship that is made by the witnesses of seniors and society. “That is why we should not worry about divorce in our marital life. There is understanding and guardianship in the relationship,” he said. “We also want to introduce the culture of marriage and how the bond and relationship remains unending throughout the life.” Two such mock marriages would take place next week, he further said at the party of the marriage.
All of them congratulated the newly married couple wished for their happy life. The couple was dreaming to have honeymoon in the Nepalese way.
[Photos Credit: Usha Rai / Explore Himalaya]
Gina Lee and I were thrilled with how smoothly everything went. We saw and learned much, and we marveled at the natural beauty of the places we visited.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.
I plan to do this also at some stage in the future.
Well-wishes for the newly married couple. Thankyou for your interests in Nepalese culture.