By Sharell Cook
The interest in India as a wedding destination has greatly grown in recent years. These days, not only do foreigners want to get married in spectacular venues all across the country, Indians do as well! The most popular locations for destination weddings in India are the authentic palaces of Rajasthan, and beaches of Goa (and now Kerala). Regal wedding or beach wedding, it's up to you to choose. One thing is important though, make sure you have a decent wedding planner or hotel event planner to do all the organizing. Their help will be invaluable.
Here are five of the top destinations for weddings in India.
Goa is undoubtedly the most popular place for destination weddings in India. People flock to Goa's beaches to tie the knot. There are a couple of ways of arranging a wedding there -- either through a wedding planner, or through one of the luxury hotels. Beach weddings do require a permit, but the wedding planner will take care of that.
Popular luxury hotels for weddings in Goa include The Leela, on secluded Morbor beach, and the Taj Exotica, on quiet Varca beach. Both are in south Goa. Alternatively, if you'd prefer an intimate garden wedding, try the gorgeous Turiya Villa & Spa near Palolem beach in south Goa. You'll have the assistance of the owner, who's a renowned architect and interior decorator.
What makes Udaipur such a standout destination for a wedding in India? Foremost is the setting. Known as the city of lakes and palaces, Udaipur really is one of the most romantic and charming places in India. A lot of this charm comes from the city's regal palace buildings -- and the best bit, you can get married in them! Contemporary wedding venues, these historical palaces are not. However, their uniqueness and fairy tale qualities make them very sought after.
For those who still want to get married in an authentic palace, but in more contemporary style, there is Devi Gargh. Located around 45 minutes from Udaipur, this rambling 18th century fort-palace has been refurbished in modern minimalistic style.
The "pink city" of Jaipur is a favorite destination for those getting married due to the sheer range and diversity of wedding venues available. The range from authentic ornate palaces -- such as the Raj Palace, Rambagh Palace, and Jai Mahal Palace -- to old mansions.
If you'd like a wedding in a heritage venue away from the city, Samode Palace could be the answer. It's located around one hour from Jaipur, and is built into the Aravali Ranges. Its setting and the way it's illuminated at night make it a wonderfully romantic venue for a wedding.
The extraordinary Umaid Bhawan palace hotel, with a hilltop location overlooking the "blue city" of Jodhpur, has played host to some very lavish weddings indeed. The palace is very much a modern day one. It was completed in 1944, after 15 years, making it one of the last great palaces to be built in India. The royal family of Jodhpur still occupies a section of the palace.
Imposing Mehrangarh Fort, which towers over Jodhpur, is a sought after place for wedding receptions.
The attraction of Kerala as wedding destination is just being discovered. It holds much appeal for those who want a quiet and picturesque wedding in a tropical setting, along the banks of a lake or palm fringed canal, with food served on banana leaves. There are a number of resorts that cater to such weddings. The luxurious Zuri Kumarakom, near Alleppey, is perhaps the most popular.
After the wedding, head off on a honeymoon along the backwaters in a traditional style houseboat.
Kerala is known for elephant themed weddings, where the groom rides on elephant back, too.