Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Australian weds American on Kerala houseboat

Kerala Connections was delighted to be asked to include a wedding celebration on a houseboat as part of the honeymoon package arranged for Jerry Dohnal and Chandra Wilson. This took place on 23 September 2011 and the press turned out in full. Below is the text that appeared in THE HINDU newspaper the following day. Jerry and Chandra also featured on two Kerala news channels.

Australian Jerry Dohnal and American Chandra Tameiko Wilson during their 'Kerala' wedding on a houseboat in Alappuzha on Friday.

Wedding dreams can be of different dimensions, but few get to play it out in their own way. Australian Jerry Dohnal and his fiancĂ© Chandra Tameiko Wilson, a United States citizen, wanted to get married in true “Kerala style” after being enchanted with what they had heard about God’s Own Country.
Though the Kerala connection was missing when they actually exchanged vows in March last, the couple did not let go of the dream and five months later, when the circumstances came together, they headed down South. With Dohnal being a legal professional in Sydney and Chandra Tameiko being an airhostess, arranging affairs through the U.K.-based Kerala Connections travel agency and Companion Holidays was not a tough issue.

And on Friday, they lived the dream, tying the knot in ‘desi’ style in a ‘mandap’ set on a houseboat, floating along the placid waters of the Pampa River at Pallathuruthy here. The wedding, conducted as per Hindu rituals and customs, was at sharp 12.30 p.m. in the presence of a select few friends.

The couple will have a daylong houseboat cruise in Alappuzha on Saturday, before heading to Kovalam for a two-day halt before flying out of the country.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Visa fees increased

We have just leart that the administation costs of obtaining an Indian Visa have increased from today (12 September 2011). The total cost of a six month tourist visa is now £42.20. We do not know what may happen to applications that were in the pipeline when the rate changed. We were not given advance warning of this increase so we are sorry to be informing our customers on the actual day the increase is implemented.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Monsoon Wedding in Kerala

Well it should have been a monsoon wedding in Kerala in June - but the bride and groom were lucky and the rain held off for their special days.

Aysha and her family on her wedding day
Nayana, Varghese, Ajish, Aysha, Baby and Daphne

The wedding was between Aysha the eldest daughter of Varghese (our oldest Keralite friend) and Ajish. Varghese was the man who suggested we start up a travel company to promote Kerala – so if it were not for him there would be no Kerala Connections. We first met him in 1989 and met Aysha aged 4 in 1991.

Aysha aged 4 with her sister Nayana

For a week or two most years we became part of their family. Aysha and her younger sister Nayana got to know us very well and saw us as an extra set of parents during our time there. When Aysha was 13 she came to the UK to stay with us for the two month school holidays. Some of the relations were very nervous about Varghese letting his young daughter go with ‘foreigners’ to a strange land. Now Aysha is 24 and has recently qualified as a nurse.

When we were first told of Aysha’s marriage – we were worried as only English shared parents of an India girl about to enter an arrange marriage can be. We had not met the young man in question – and what if we did not think he was good enough for our daughter? But we should not have worried – our co-parents found a lovely guy and anyway – Aysha is a sensible girl, she would not agree to a marriage if she felt it was not right. But it is hard for us British citizens to understand the arranged marriage system. We think we should fall in love first and then get married. They do it the other way round – select a suitable partner based on religion, family background, education etc, etc. If the two people and their families think it is a good match they get married and then (hopefully) fall in love.

Ajish fitted the bill perfectly – and he is also a nurse. So we are now the proud shared in-laws of Ajish and he seems to be fine with this!

Aysha looked absolutely stunning on the Engagement Day (Wednesday 22 June) and again on the Wedding Day on Sunday 26 June. Ajish looked extremely smart with suits he bought in Abu Dhabi where he works (as this kind of thing is not readily available in Kerala).

The Engagement. A thoughful moment from Ajish with his wife to be looking on fondly

Aysha about to leave for the church

Aysha with her 'two' mothers

At the end of the day - Aysha in the beautiful sari chosen by her new husband and presented to her as part of the wedding ceremony.

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