Mauritius is fast becoming a popular wedding venue for rich Indians who come here with family, friends and even Bollywood stars in chartered planes to attend the extravagant ceremonies that continue for days.
For Indian millionaires, mostly businessmen, top seaside resorts like Oberoi Mauritius and InterContinental Mauritius (Balaclava) are the favourite venues for these extravagant weddings and the lengthy celebrations include religious rituals, beach parties and performance(s) by Bollywood stars.
"Mauritius has become a favourite place for many Indians to host their weddings. They come in chartered planes with family, friends and guests and celebrate," India's high commissioner to Mauritius TP Seetharam told a group of visiting journalists.
Hosting a wedding party in a five-star property in Mauritius is an expensive affair as food and accommodation costs for 400 people per day is over $300,000 (approx Rs. 1.6 crore). The celebrations continue for several days.
Apart from the cost of hiring chartered planes, charges for song and dance performances by Bollywood stars, that many people arrange, too run into millions.
"We host two to three Indian weddings every month," a banquet manager of the InterContinental Mauritius (Balaclava) said.
As most of the resorts have Indian chefs, Indian food is readily available besides Thai, Chinese and Italian cuisines.
"We enjoy serving in the Indian weddings as India is always close to our heart," said Parvati, an Indian-origin waitress.
Mauritius' 68% population, including President Rajkeswur Purryag and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, are of Indian-origin.
The Indian Ocean island nation is also a favourite destination for honeymooners.
"Most of the Indian tourists visiting Mauritius are couples on honeymoon," high commissioner Seetharam said.
Picturesque locations, serene beaches, friendly locals and great opportunities for exciting water sports attract Indians to Mauritius.
However, connectivity continues to be a handicap for many Indians wanting to travel to Mauritius as Indian carriers are not so keen on starting operations between Port Louis and Indian cities.
"There are high demands from travellers to and from Mauritius. Indian air carriers must avail the opportunity," Seetharam said.