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Day two was a busy one! I met up with Shalin and his family around 8am to photograph his Ghari Puja and Pithi ceremony. This took place at the home of one of Shalin’s friends, just a few miles from the hotel that Jason and I were staying at and the Cultural Center of India.

Blessings and gift offerings took place outside as well.

Not wanting to mess up his ceremonial clothing, Shalin decided to change his clothes before having the turmeric paste applied. Don’t forget to get behind the ears!

Meanwhile, Jason, along with the talents of photographer Kristin Moore and cinematographers of Shaking Hands Productions documented Hema’s Ghari Puja ceremony at the Cultural Center.

The priest ties a red bracelet around Hema’s wrist which cannot be removed until she and Shalin are married. Shalin wears a similar bracelet.

Kristin took this beautiful and sweet photo of Hema and her sister. The bond of this family is immeasurable.

When the ceremonies concluded, a vegetarian lunch was served at the Cultural Center. Afterwards, everyone had a little time to relax before getting ready for the Garba and Raas celebrations. Jason and I met up with Shalin and Hema at the Marriott where Shalin was staying for a few portraits beforehand.

The Garba-Raas began around 7pm. This a very festive time, full of toasts, dancing and high energy music. Lots of smiles, lots of laughs. Both Garba and Raas are traditional folk dances, Garba being a circular dance and Raas a line dance with sticks.  Much of the decor was provided by Partyland Flowers and Event Decor.

Shalin’s father dancing!

Hema had told me that she had never seen her father (second from left) dance in her whole life until the night of the Garba. I just had to include this photo of Shalin and Hema dancing with their dads.

Day THREE will continue with Shalin and Hema’s wedding ceremony!

  • Dev Sheth - hey guys, the pictures look great, good luck to the happy couple.

    Dev2011/09/17 – 22:36ReplyCancel

Goodness gracious, it’s been quite some time since my last entry! Client deadlines come first, but I’m definitely long overdue. I want to thank you for keeping up with our latest work and being so patient… I actually have a great number of gorgeous weddings that I’d like to share, along with engagement portraits, personal projects and non-profit work. Please stay tuned!

I’m greatly excited to share Shalin and Hema’s 3-day wedding which took place in Chester, VA. The first day kicked off with Hema’s Ganesh Puja ceremony in the morning followed by lunch and then the Mendhi which went on until the late evening. These events all took place at a hotel that her family owns and operates.


The Ganesh Puja is a preliminary which must be done before any other ceremony in order to bring good luck and to remove any obstacles from the ceremonies that follow. This is done by chanting mantras and offering gifts of fruit to Ganesha, the Lord of beginnings.

I’ve heard that turmeric paste is applied all over the body to invoke the likeness of Ganesha. I’ve also heard that it’s great for glowing and healthy skin, free from bacteria.


Lunchtime! Family and friends come together to prepare a meal for a few hundred guests.


I tend to beeline towards kids. I love talking to them and learning what games they’ve come up with. These girls are up to some freeze tag.

And these boys are playing Cricket. The one looking back is named Jay. We quickly became friends.

The Mendhi party commenced a few hours after lunch. Hema’s lovely henna designs were done by The Henna Lady.

Day TWO will include Shalin’s Ganesh Puja, Hema’s Satak ceremony and then evening Garba! Stay tuned!

  • Colleen Heller - I finally found you! These are just incredible!!! All of the photos, and the commentary really tell the story and capture the moments, and it’s so nice to see the ‘rest of the story’, since I was a part of just a tiny bit of it all. Thanks for the link, too!2011/08/18 – 13:35ReplyCancel

  • Priya - LOVE IT!!!2011/07/27 – 15:01ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Moore - OH MY GOODNESS!!! These are absolutely incredible!!!!2011/07/27 – 07:14ReplyCancel