23 APRIL 2007

The Bollywood-besotted Indian city of Mumbai came to a standstill at the weekend as two of its biggest stars, emerald-eyed beauty Aishwarya Rai, 33, and Abhishek Bachchan, a screen hero and the son of a local cinema legend, tied the knot.

Dubbed the wedding of the century by the Indian media, the festivities had many of the elements of one of the couple's on-screen romances - riotous colour, dance routines and melodrama. The celebrations ran over three days and included a Sunday visit to the Tirupathi Ventakeswara temple in the south of the country, where the couple partook of prasad or blessed food.

Aishwarya, a former Miss World, was breathtaking on that occasion in a hand-embroidered red and gold sari, with vermilion powder in the parting of her hair, and a necklace of black and gold beads. Her 31-year-old groom was dressed in a loose white tunic over baggy trousers.

The traditional festivities had kicked off on Friday with a private marriage ceremony at the Bachan family home, where hundreds of well-wishers cheered the 31-year-old groom as he emerged astride a white stallion, his face covered by a veil of white flowers.

This was followed the next day by the bidai, a ceremony in which the bride bids farewell to her parental home. With all the excitement of their big day over, the newlyweds have apparently jetted off to Venice for a month-long honeymoon.

Photo: ©
Their hands covered with traditional henna tattoos, the power couple of Indian cinema partake of prasad (blessed food) on the third day of their wedding celebrations at a temple in the south of the countryPhoto: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
Emerging from his family home astride a white stallion, his face covered by a veil of white flowers, the 31-year-old groom was greeted by hundreds of well-wishersPhoto: © AFP
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