I have really neglected my blog since November. But so much happened since then. In December my friend Parikshit got married in India. We have met at university in the UK. I so wanted to go but I could only take a few days off work as we had already planned a holiday right after Christmas. So in the end we only had four but four intensive and exciting days in India. It was our first time to India and it was kind of a cultural shock. I have never seen so many people! It was crowded, noisy, chaotic but beautiful at the same time.
The wedding was in Surat, which is about 3-4 hours by train north of Mumbai. So we flew to Mumbai and spent a full day there. We explored Mumbai by foot, starting off at the Gateway of India, a famous monument overlooking the Aarabian see. It is probably the most touristic place in Mumbai. But I was surprised that we didn’t really see a lot of foreign tourists. There were mostly Indians who wanted to take photos together with us. We felt like superstars.
We spent most of the day walking through Mumbai’s market districts, visiting various markets, temples and just drifting along. There was so much to see and everyone was super friendly. We also bought traditional Indian clothes for the wedding. Philipp got a Kurta and I got a red and gold Sari. A Sari is so cool: you look like a princess and it’s as comfortable as pyjamas.
For lunch we had Thali. It is a selection of various dishes served on a round metal tray: small curry-like dishes, vegetables, pickles and Chapati (a typical flatbread). It is cheap and super delicious. We had a mint lassi with the food, a yogurt-based drink. Most of the Indian cuisine is vegetarian. It is so versatile and full of flavor and most of the time quite spicy – especially for a European stomach. Philipp got me an Indian cookbook for Christmas and I will definitely try some new things soon. Maybe I will also share something on the blog. The funny things is that Indian food doesn’t really look good most of the time but it tastes so good!
So the next day we left for Surat, which is in the state of Gujarat. We met one of Parikshit’s friends, who lives in Mumbai, at the train station. Two of his friends from Singapore came as well. I love taking the train as you get the chance to see a lot. It was very interesting. Surat is also quite a huge city and we were surprised that I was so much more modern than Mumbai.
The first night there was a reception and a party at a farmhouse. Parikshit and Mithila, his wife, looked stunning! There was a lot of food, music and dancing. At a certain point, everybody – young and old – danced! Bollywood-Style! It was amazing. Next to the Indian wedding crowd we looked like stiff Germans…
The next day it all started in the afternoon with a Baraat, a traditional Gujarati wedding procession. The groom sits on a horse and rides with music and a dancing crowd to the bride’s house or in that case the hotel, where both families meet. It was loud, colorful and such an experience! The wedding was quite big and – looking from a German perspective – very glamorous. I was fascinated by the beautiful dresses. Mithila was looking very pretty. Her hands and arms were full of detailed Henna art and with all the jewelry she looked like from a fairy tale. Parikshit did as well. He wore a festive turban and a neat outfit.
There was also so much food at the wedding! All vegetarian and super delicious. There were so many different dishes that we couldn’t even try them all. Altogether it was a I was a wonderful wedding and I was very happy to be there for Parikshit’s and Mithila’s special day and experience this beautiful event together with Philipp. The next day we left for Mumbai to catch the plane back home. It was a short but eventful first trip to India!