A bride decked with jewellery is carried onto the stage in a makeshift lotus. She represents Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and fortune. The bridegroom waits on stage, dressed up as Lord Vishnu.
These were the scenes that played out at a wedding in Tanuku in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district, which is attracting eyeballs after pictures and videos from it began going viral on social media.
The wedding, which took place on October 6, was peculair as the couple, along with their families, dressed like gods.
The parents of the couple too dressed as kings and queens.
The bride, Harishita, is the daughter of a godman. The godman in question is Sridhara Swami, who enjoys popularity in the two Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and even has an ashram in Tanuku.
Speaking to TNM, Sridhara Swami said, "During the olden days, weddings used to happen in this manner only. We used to follow the 'sanathana' traditions. Weddings used to take place in a pious manner. To replicate the same and inculcate the same pious feeling, we conducted it this way."
When asked about what made him choose the theme of the marriage, he said, "In every marriage, the bride is seen as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi while performing the kanyadhaanam. Everyone sees the bride as Lakshmi in their minds, but I followed the same sentiment both mentally and practically with jewellery and costumes."
"It was not just happiness for us, but it was happiness for everyone who saw the wedding. We feel blessed. My daughter and son-in-law are extremely fortunate because of the good deeds in their previous life. I want everyone to bless my children. I will remember those who bless us and pray to god for them," he said, talking about the reaction of those who watched the wedding.
For close to a decade now, Sridhara Swami has made regular appearances on TV channels. His own YouTube channel dates back to seven years ago in 2010, when he started uploading his sermons.
He is often invited for hour-long TV shows on Telugu news channels.
In 2014, the godman also hosted a 30-minute programme called 'Maharshi Vani' on NTV, a popular news channel, where he claims to provide 'Remedies For Financial Problems', gives tips on 'How To Become A Billionaire', besides telling people How To Make Your Face Beautiful And Attractive, and How To Get A Job, all with the help of astrology.