Court-ship of the desert: MP camels to get married in a gala ceremony
Horses, camels and elephants are often used in Indian weddings to carry the bridegroom. But in the Rinhai village in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district, it is a camel that is getting married.
A family which raised a she-camel called Kal-lo like one of their own, is organising a grand wedding ceremony for the animal.
"The wedding of my Kal-lo is going to be hatkey (different) but datkey (complete). It is going to be a grand celebration. I have distributed 1,000 invitation cards and I am expecting nearly 5,000 people to attend the marriage ceremony," said Naresh Raghuvanshi, Kal-lo's 'guardian'. Raghuvanshi is a farmer and lives in the Indar area of Rinhai in Shivpuri district.
The two-day marriage ceremony will begin with Ganesh Pujan, followed by Akhand Ramayan Path (non-stop recitation of the Ramayan for 24 hours) on 11 May.
Four-year-old Kal-lo will have to stay awake the entire night for the Ramayan path, after which she will get married to Gopal, the camel of Laxman Singh, a resident of Badhari village in Shivpuri district. The wedding, scheduled for 12 May, is expected to be a lovely outdoor ceremony.
"As there is no Shubh Lagna or Muhurat, the marriage will be solemnised under the shade of the sacred Peepal tree at Semar Bagh, about 2 km from the village," Raghuvanshi said.
"And on the completion of the marriage ceremony, there will be a grand feast called Preeti Bhoj," he added.
On Saturday, the Raghuvanshi family purchased the wedding dress and booked a DJ for the marriage ceremony.
On Wednesday, Raghuvanshi, acting as the bride's father, reached the house of Laxman Singh, where he gave gifts to the groom and his family members.
According to locals, this could be the first instance in the districts of Shivpuri and Guna that camels raised by two different families will be brought together in a grand ceremony.
"When I approached Laxman, asking him to marry his Gopal to Kal-lo, he humbly accepted," Raghuvanshi recalled emotionally.
"And when I told this to Kal-lo, I could instantly feel a spark in her," he added.
How Kal-lo became part of the Raghuvanshi family
Raghuvanshi, a father of three, says that he has the same affection for Kal-lo as he has for his family members.
"I grew up with domestic animals such as cows, buffaloes and dogs, but never in the company of camels. Two-years back, I bought her from a local villager who breeds camels. I grew particularly fond of her. She is so genuine and caring. I have incredible memories with her," said Raghuvanshi.
According to him, Kal-lo has an old man's character and is exceptionally affectionate. "Sometimes, she would come over and put her head on my shoulder. When one of the other animals is unhappy or sick, she would go there and try to comfort it," he recalled.
"She never kicks or bites, unlike most camels. She holds her head high...I find her unbelievably intelligent and aware. She is even able to express emotions," he adds.
"She has accepted me as her best friend," Raghuvanshi said proudly. He says that they even use the same soap.
Edited by Aditya Menon