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Brought together by love, bound by smiles.
This was my first wedding in Hyderabad and my first Telugu wedding as well. I got to witness the ceremony where ‘Talambralu’ (rice grains mixed with turmeric powder and saffron along with other things like flower petals, pearls and colorful beads) are showered by the bride and the groom over each other. I had seen it before too, but I guess Telugu weddings have the ‘pro’ version of this ceremony!

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The name 'Badal Mahal' (Palace of Clouds) couldn't have been more accurate.
The citadel of the Kumbhalgarh Fort consists chiefly of the Badal Mahal or the ‘Palace of Clouds’. Mardana Mahal and Zanana Mahal are the two interconnected parts of this palace. The first article of this series on Kumbhalgarh is here. A word of caution here. The fort is huge. I mean HUGE. To properly explore it, a few hours is hardly enough. You need a couple of days. Thankfully there are a few hotels and guesthouses quite near the fort, so if you are planning to explore each and every nook and cranny of this gigantic fort, you can take up a room there. We were there only for around 4 hours, and I was literally running from one spot to the other, to go through as much of the place as possible. In the end I don’t think I saw even a quarter of the whole fort.

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And the 'good luck' coconut has been cracked!
Around a year back, in the hot and humid month of June I found myself in southern metropolis of Chennai to cover the Chettiar wedding of Gowri Shankar and Sharanya. Gowri was one of the most hospitable people I had the good fortune to cross paths with. But even then, I had braced myself for the hot weather and the language barriers, but surprisingly it turned to be an extremely smooth trip. Modern technology and globalisation has truly made everything super-smooth. And I honestly think that the language barrier has come down quite a lot in the past 10 years.

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Bastions of the huge Kumbhalgarh Fort continue for tens of kilometres.

Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the great Mewar fortresses spread throughout the ancient region of Mewar. It’s claim to fame are a lot of things. Things like being built by Rana Kumbha (after whom it is named), being the birthplace of the legendary Maharana Pratap and being a World Heritage Site. Unknown to many Indians even, it’s reputed to have the second longest continuous intact wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. It extends upto 38km all around the citadel over many hills and hillocks. You can find much more information on its wikitravel article.

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Shachi + Goonjan's Kannada-Marwari Wedding in Bangalore. By Animesh Ray.

I remember getting completely drenched in a Bangalore rain the day I was on my way to cover my first Kannada-Marwari wedding. Thankfully my rain cover protected all of my equipment. Couldn’t say the same for my clothes though. Anyway, rain or no rain the wedding was an absolutely splendid affair. Happy people, smiling faces, excited expressions were all around. I had a blast shooting the wedding. The couple of honour, Shachi and Goonjan were one of the warmest people I have ever met and there was never a boring moment during their wedding. No wonder I clicked way too many photos. I just couldn’t pass up on a smiling face! Took me a really long time to post-process the photos after the wedding, but the end-product was worth it.

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