American couple ties the knot Indian style (With Images)

June 3rd, 2009 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Amidst the chanting of Sanskrit verses, the bride and groom bedecked in traditional Indian attire walked around the sacred fire. But it wasn’t just another big, fat Indian wedding. The couple had come all the way from America to tie the knot in Agra - the city of the Taj Mahal that is a global symbol of eternal love.
Conrad Roesky and Michelle Alexander of South Louisiana married Monday and their wedding was organised by the ITC Mughal, a press communique from the five-star hotel said.

“We were glad to have been chosen as the base for this wedding ceremony for this special couple,” ITC Mughal general manager Kuldeep Bhartee said.

The couple, in their 50s, had been in love for a decade. Conrad nursed Michelle back to health when she was seriously ill and as soon as she recovered, he proposed to her.

When Michelle agreed, the couple decided that there could be no better place to marry than Agra - the city of the Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his queen Mumtaz Mahal.

They wrote to ITC Mughal asking if they could organise a traditional Indian wedding for them. The hotel rose to the occasion and planned a Hindu marriage.

It was solemnised under a flower-bedecked mandap - a wedding canopy - by a Hindu priest.

“Michelle and Conrad wore traditional Indian outfits and the priest chanted Sanskrit mantras, which were translated for the benefit of the American couple. The sindoor ceremony, exchange of rings, the seven pheras (ritual circumnavigation) around the sacred fire and the exchange of garlands were all done in traditional style,” said a spokesperson for the hotel.

After the wedding, the couple drove to the Taj Mahal in the hotel’s horse-drawn buggy and in the style of all newlyweds were photographed together with the Taj as a backdrop.

On their return to the hotel, they lunched in private in their Taj-facing luxury suite. By then, a photograph of the couple taken during the wedding had been developed and placed in a special frame as a wedding gift from the hotel.

After a short rest, it was time for treatment at the hotel’s award-winning spa, Kaya Kalp.

“The couple was led to a Mughal retreat, the special suite for couples, where they were each given a special Kaya Kalp massage with special Indian herbs and then left to bathe in private in a bath full of rose-petals,” the spokesperson said.

It was followed by a romantic candlelight dinner on the roof top with the shimmering Taj Mahal in the background.

“The Taj glowed like a pearl and spun its magic. I almost fell like Mumtaz Mahal. The wedding is a culmination of the dream for me. I always wanted to get married in the city of Taj,” said Michelle.

The ITC Mughal is a popular wedding venue and Agra is becoming a happening wedding tourism destination in the country, along with Goa and Kerala, drawing couples from all over the globe.

Weddings have become a multi-million dollar industry in India.

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