Monday 10th October 2016
Sunday was the third and final day of the wedding celebrations. It was an early start and we were all decked out in our Indian attire for the day. I had the opportunity to wear my stunning emerald green, black and gold embellished sari, I felt so elegant. I had previously felt a little sorry for the men of the wedding party who, until now, hadn’t had the opportunity to dress in any fineries like us women. However, this morning they were dressed to the nines in beautiful velvet buttoned suited jackets and billowing harem pants. Serena’s brother Ritchie, wore a beautiful peacock coloured suit embellished with gems, it was just stunning. We headed over to Bath Castle, which I thought was an ironic name, only across the road from where we were staying. What a venue! It was so fitting for the grandeur of everything that had already come. As we were escorted through the large castle like door into the fortress walls, there was a decorated walkway down to a castle building. At the huge wooden doors stood turban clad men with trays of drinks ready to be at our beck and call. The interior room was fit for a king; the 4 walls were lined with what felt like market stalls of food, all being freshly prepared right before your eyes. There were carts for chapatis alone! I am in food heaven. Suddenly the drums began to sound, you could hear them a mile away, and in processed Randeep on a white horse surrounded by all of his family and friends. Bag pipes and traditional drummers paraded him through the fortress door and down the red carpeted walkway. You can imagine I had goosebumps. Red is the colour of weddings, and gosh couldn’t you tell. Randeep wore a beautiful decorative turban, suit jacket, harems and a sash of rupee notes. Sikh weddings seem to involve a lot of physical money, which brings the new couple good luck. Once the whole party were processed into the hall, we were seated and waited on with beautiful food and drinks, which I soon realised was only breakfast!
Midday arrived and we made our way over to the Sikh temple for ceremony itself. This was what really overwhelmed me, and to be honest I felt a little intimidated and out of place. The temple interior was beautifully peaceful and spiritual, and as Emma finally arrived, we entered the room to what would be an altar where we covered our heads, offered money and kissed the ground before it. The ceremony itself was presented through chanting in what I believe is sand-script, a very holy ancient verse. It was eerie and incredibly enchanting. The couple were asked to circle the holy scripture holding a piece of red material linking them together. Emma’s wedding lenga (skirt and top) was beyond astounding. As I thought, the skirt itself weighed a tonne as it was so highly embellished with gold beads. Her arms laden with bangles and mendhi, and her head draped in a beautiful embellished veil and huge gem tikka.
After the ceremony, we returned to the grand hall where I felt like I was in the days in the British Raj. It was slightly embarrassing saying no to so many of the waiters as they piled up your plates and brought over traditional lassi drinks (milk and spices). After having the release my petticoat a little, the party began. There was a stage with what I would describe as Indian pop dancers and singers. We danced the traditional music for the whole afternoon, what a treat!
Oh yes, and I’ve been learning a little Hindi. “Ah re bah! Kia bate!”, meaning “Wow, there are no words!” really does sum up the last three days…