Welcome back to the second part of Kelvin Luffs Photography in India. In this post, I share my personal experience during my time in India, from shooting the Sangeet, to the traditional Wedding Day, to the continuation of my trip (I was in India for a total of 14 days).
So, having accepted the assignment in India, I thought to myself that the chance had arrived for me to visit the Taj Mahal, which happened to be a destination on my bucket list. In all my overseas assignments previously, I strive to come home to my family, and to get on with editing and other works, right after they were done. But in this case, I chose to stay on, and went on a solo trip to visit the Taj Mahal. It was also my first solo adventure without the missus.
In just about any country I have visited, I was very sure to encounter people living in the streets, or just living below the poverty line. India was no different. In fact while on my way out of New Delhi, my taxi drove past a really huge landfill (some locals call it 'Trash Mountain'), and people were actually going through the mountain of garbage for items they could resell just to make a living!
But what heartened me was that although the gap between the rich and poor is wide, some people still care for others. At one of the parties, I actually asked what would become of all the leftover food, and the response was, "We will share it with the poor."
Here is a picture of some of the underprivileged children enjoying hot food from the party.
Now, let's head back to the parties. I did mention in Part 1 of this blog post that a traditional Sikh wedding is all about prayers and parties. Well, each party held their own significance - just like the one that I will talk about - the Sangeet.
- Sangeet Ceremony
A little fact I found out about the Sangeet was that the ceremony is the mother of all pre-wedding parties. It is the epitome of a grand event which includes the festivity of songs and dance, decorations, lavish gourmet food and bringing together wonderful guests of all ethnicities; dressed up as if they were attending the prestigious International Indian Film Awards (IIFA).
Just to exaggerate slightly, everyone at Sangeet was so sharply dressed that if anyone were to make an entrance into the party escorted by an envoy of bodyguards or photographers flashing away, I would think that they were some super star like Hrithik Roshan or Aishwarya Rai - stars worthy of my rushing over for a selfie! To be frank, I personally believe that the people who graced that night's Sangeet were really good looking.
Anyway, Sangeet is also a time where family members and guests put on choreographed performances for the bride and groom's enjoyment. Thinking back, it is no wonder the Sangeet is indeed THE most memorable part of the wedding and I dare say that this event would definitely leave a lasting impression on the guests who have attended. It sure did for me.
Do enjoy these photos.
Hope you are enjoying the above photos so far. Writing this blog post and posting pictures of the Sangeet makes me reminisce how much I had enjoyed myself even while documenting the whole ceremony.
To add, after the Sangeet Ceremony, the next day was to be the traditional Sikh wedding conducted at the Gurdwara. Let me tell you that in all the weddings that I have covered so far, this traditional wedding left me with the fondest of impressions. Why you might ask, well - 1st: I've never seen a groom make an entrance to a wedding venue on a horse. 2nd: The sheer number of people accompanying the groom all the way from his home to the wedding venue just blew my mind. 3rd: being a photographer from Singapore, heat and humidity is something that I cannot avoid so wearing a full suit to a shoot in Singapore is quite unheard of, so to cover this whole event during winter and in a full suit, was literally a first for me.
- Traditional Sikh Wedding (Anand Karaj)
On this very morning, guests and family members of the bride gathered early outside the Gurdwara to wait upon the arrival of the Barat (groom's family). At this juncture, the bride had already arrived at the Gurdwara and was ushered into a private waiting room until the main ceremony begins.
Please pardon me if my facts are not as accurate, but if my memory serves me right, upon the arrival of the groom, both families do come together for milni (meeting) before the ardaas (prayers) commences. This prayers are important because it signifies the start of a happy occasion and the milni serves as formal introduction to relatives of each family where garlands are playfully exchanged between family members of both the bride and groom.
The main event; Traditional Sikh wedding (anand karaj also known as 'Blissful Union') takes place in the gurdwara darbar. In here, family, relatives and friends from both sides pay their respects to the Guru Granth Sahib before taking a seat in the darbar.
I shall let my pictures do the talking from here, shall we? Below each picture is a little description.
Thanks for staying with me all this way! Very proud of you! I hope you have enjoyed my write-up and the mesmerising pictures. I'll cover more about the wedding reception as well as my solo journey from Chandigarh to Agra in the next two blogs post.
In the meantime, have a great week ahead and stay tuned for Part 3 of Kelvin Luffs Photography in India!