Twenty-one-year old Bikram Hemaphuki, who grew up in an orphanage in Budhanilakantha, was worried about getting married as he was afraid he didn’t have enough money to tie the nuptial knot with his girlfriend, Kabita Tamang, 21, of Pokhara.
However, on Sunday, his dream of marrying his longtime girlfriend finally came true after the couple became one amongst more than 100 couples to marry as per Hindu rites and customs at Bankali in Pashupatinath.
The venue was filled with 100 bibaha mandaps, or marriage place, and each of them showcased a bride and a groom along with a priest chanting away mantras. Hundreds of people attended the mass wedding ceremony and congratulated the newly-married couples after the ceremony concluded. This was the biggest collective wedding or mass wedding ceremony in the country, where couples from all over the country, especially those with poor financial situation, and belonging to various caste groups got married at the same venue in a ceremony organised by the Sri Shiva Shakti Rahuleshwaranand Foundation.
The newly-weds were also provided with all kinds of paraphernalia that are normally given to the bride and the groom. According to the organisers, in monetary terms the goods provided to each couple during the mass wedding ceremony came close to around Rs 480,000.
Indu Gautam of Chahabil, one of the marriage attendees, said she was very happy to see couples tie the nuptial knot in such large numbers. The ceremony was attended by more than 10,000 people. “These days marriage has become a ceremony for displaying one’s wealth. Ceremonies like this will definitely send a strong message against such malpractices,” said Gautam.
According to Anil Basnet, coordinator of the mass wedding ceremony, the foundation spent around Rs 64 million for the function.