A Model Town family's idea of showcasing Punjabi culture to the world culminated in their son's marriage being telecast live on a Punjabi satellite channel for no less than 10 hours on Saturday night.
Probably the first-of-its-kind attempt in the region, the wedding was seen live by relatives of the bride and groom in countries like Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
At a time when most of the marriages take place in a lavish manner, this one was solemnised at a gurdwara by holding community kitchen for the poor.
"We did not throw a party as we do not believe in serving alcohol and non-vegetarian food. The entire ceremony took place at a gurdwara in Model Town in which food was prepared for all those who wanted to attend," said Surinder Pal Singh, father of the groom, who is into construction business. Bridegroom Meet Sobbar Singh, who assists his father in the family business, married Manisha.
Around 150 cooks and 200 waiters managed the food and other services on the gurdwara premises. The langar hall of Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Model Town Extension, was converted into an air-conditioned hall.
"The idea to telecast the wedding struck me as I realised people were forgetting their culture and roots. Marriages have become a lavish affair only to show off," said Surinder Pal. "Nearly 13,000 people came to the wedding till midnight, who were served food outside the gurdwara as there was no room inside."
He said he wanted to show Punjabi culture to the entire world so that people got attracted to it. The live telecast of the marriage started around 8.30 pm on Saturday and continued till 6 am on Sunday. "Several relatives called me up during the marriage ceremony after watching it on TV from across the world," he said.
Surinder Pal said that nowadays there were no functions without non-vegetarian food and alcohol being served. He said he did not want to host such a party and instead decided to offer community kitchen in which anyone could come and have food.
Groom's mother Jaswinder Kaur said it was her wish that the marriage of their son should take place in a gurdwara where the poor were served food. "Most of the marriages take place in marriage palaces these days, where alcohol and non-vegetarian food dominate. We wanted the marriage to be solemnised in a traditional way," she said.