Attending a Jain Wedding in India

34 posts in this topic

Conquistador: Generally, gifts for weddings in India are usually the ones, which are useful for the couple, in leading their lives, after marriage or for Honeymoon. It's not a must (specially for you, as you are probably just invited to experience an Indian wedding). Anyways, it's always a nice gesture to present something. Presenting Chocolates for a wedding, is a bad/weird idea. I would suggest something typical from Germany (which is exotic for 'em) or a useful gadget or some kind of voucher for their honeymoon. It all depends on how much you wanna spend. It would also be nice to attend the wedding, in some ethnic wear (See : Kurta Pajama ).

 

I guess, you are going to Delhi, to attend the wedding?

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- There are some interesting temples in Khajuraho, in the same general area. It's worth another day or so, if you have the time. They do smell a bit of bats. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khajuraho_Group_of_Monuments .

 

- I remember the security for entering the Taj Mahal to be more intense than any airport, ten years ago. Here's a link to current practice: http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/do&nots.html .

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Indians are reputed to be fond of gold, so a couple of grams (or as much as you want to spend)of gold nicely packaged (try pro aurum) would be appreciated.

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Indians are reputed to be fond of gold. A few (much as you want to spend) grams of gold nicely packaged (try pro aurum) would IMHO be appreciated

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You can never go wrong with some flowers and some cash in an envelope...5001 (INR)/100 Euros is the usual shagun (cash gift to newly married couples)!! Forget chocolates/wine thats not done for weddings...more for social get togethers! Wath the water...stick to bottled mineral water...even for brushing your teeth and you will be fine!!

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Agree with ^Vivek^. Cash in a fancy envelope (ending with 1) along with a little bouquet is the best. Watches might be good as well but most people already own one.

 

The Taj is great at sun-rise, Fatepur Sikri's hawa mahal (wind(y) palace) as well and the agra fort too. Make some time to have a proper namkeen (salty) lassi (made of mineral water) in the main market in Agra. It is awesome. Prepare mentally for being assaulted by millions of auto/taxi wallahs as you exit the Agra railway station.

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I appreciate the great advice so far. I have been invited to experience an Indian wedding, but even if a gift is not expected of me, I plan to give one anyway, and I guess cash is the best way to go.

 

I wil have four days in and around Agra, so I do plan to see a bit more than the amazing Taj Mahal.

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Does anyone have any thoughts as to how much a tailored men's suit and saris would cost in Delhi? I know I'll have to bargain but I would like to get a general idea of how much the "real" prices would be.

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Oh wow! I am almost 100% certain they will be pittance to what you'd pay in the West. Get some extra rupees and have more cut to fit.

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Actually they are not as cheap as one may expect if u r going for a good quality one from the branded stores. Try the tailors at Khan Market or South ex, they are supposed to be good (i think they work at the fabric shops). else ask the person from where u get the fabric to suggest a tailor. And pls give them a deadline atleast 1 week before ur travel date. They will normally take longer and u might need to get them altered. :) Hope u enjoy ur trip.

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Saris will cost anything from below 10 Euros to a figure in the hundreds. It depends on the type of material, embroidery or lack thereof, presence of goldwork along the border and tail end (pallu), method of weaving, etc. etc.

 

It wasn't clear from your earlier posts if you were spending any time in Delhi or not.

Now that it's clear you definitely are, I strongly recommend a visit to the State Emporia along Baba Kharak Singh Marg. Every state of India has it's own shop there, all of them neatly aligned in one place. By simply walking from one to the next you get a great overview of the variations in handicrafts from the various regions.

 

In addition, they have the advantage of both (fairly) reasonable and FIXED prices (although they are not usually marked, you still have to ask). If nothing else, you can get a baseline idea of normal prices from here.

 

What one likes in saris is highly subjective, of course. But nonetheless, a couple of general points:

 

Silk, of course, is beautiful. But it is also much pricier, and if it is to be worn by someone not used to sari-wearing it might be too slippery for comfortable wear.

 

Be wary of any traditional Indian textiles in red, pink, orange or blue. The methods of fixing these colors during the dying process means that they tend to be the least colorfast. Always handwash and dry separately from other clothes - at least until you know for sure that they don't run.

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Now that it's clear you definitely are, I strongly recommend a visit to the State Emporia along Baba Kharak Singh Marg. Every state of India has it's own shop there, all of them neatly aligned in one place. By simply walking from one to the next you get a great overview of the variations in handicrafts from the various regions.

 

i personally wouldn't buy a sari here. other stuff, absolutely, yes. but examine it all carefully before purchasing. these emporiums are not as popular as they once were and the selection of clothes wasn't that great.

 

for a tourist, i would recommend cottage emporiums near janpath. i think they have a website online to give you some ideas of prices/materials/etc. their products have been good. ask them where to go to get the sari blouse stitched within a day or wherever you may buy a sari.

 

i speak from experience in april shopping in most of the places mentioned so far.

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@Conquistador : cash is the norm but do add a 1 Rupee coin to it, it's considered auspicious (something like 1001, 2001). Although if I were in your position, I'd bring some of my culture into the gift, shows that you put thought into it and that's what counts.

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Thanks all again for the very useful advice. I ended up giving cash (remembering to add an additional one rupee coin). Some people did give some very nice chocolates but jewelry constituted the largest part of the presents.

 

The wedding was a fantastic experience and the welcome I received was wonderful- I really felt like part of the family.

 

I'd also like to mention that there are now audio tours offered at the Taj Mahal in the major European and Indian languages (it's 105 rupees for the former), and it's well worth your time. They are available at an office near the west gate. There's also a sign facing the west gate but located in the courtyard nearer to the east gate which states rates for photos taken by licensed photographers (e.g., 3 5x7 photos are supposed to cost 90 rupees). I happened to see it coming back from fetching the audio tour. However, the photographers that approach you won't bend from the ridiculous price of 100 rupees per photo, choosing instead not to do business with you at all rather than negotiate or respect the aformentioned price, and they appear to have cartelized. I was also approached by a man who dubiously claimed to be a government-licensed tour guide with a dubious ID and who also claimed that the government set the price of a tour at 575 rupees (also a ridiculous price).

 

The Taj Mahal is simply breathtaking, and it's much better in person than any photo I have seen, as lovely as they may be. The other sites in and around Agra were also great- it's possible to walk to Agra Fort from the Taj Mahal's west gate, and I'd recommend seeing it on the same day as the Taj Mahal in order to take advantage of the discounted entry.

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