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Monkey Wedding Called Illegal By Indian Officials

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MONKEY CEREMONY
AP

It was a wedding that thousands waited eagerly for since the engagement was announced. Invitations were sent, the details were meticulously labored over, and finally, to the almost-hysteric joy of the crowds, the big day arrived.

In the small village of Talwas, Rajasthan, Raju, a well-known cigarette smoking monkey, and his bride Chinki were married, according to Stuff.

Raju had become a local celebrity after Ramesh Saini, a rickshaw driver, adopted him three years ago when he found the monkey unconscious.

He's been a surrogate son to the childless Ramesh ever since.

"I want to enjoy the feelings of a son's marriage through Raju's wedding." Ramesh told the publication. "We will welcome the bride in our house ... after the wedding with all rituals."

Raju's bethrothed Chinki lived with a priest in a nearby village.

More than 2,000 guests were expected to attend the pre-wedding feast and to watch Raju ride atop a horse in a procession, Stuff reported. The wedding was planned in accordance with traditional Hindi customs, including sacred fires and fragrant incense.

Monkeys are revered by many Hindus, because the deity Hanuman appeared in primate form.

But the carefully made preparations were thrown into havoc by government officials who cracked down on the animal nuptials, because monkeys are technically government property. So marrying a monkey, even to another monkey, is illegal

(Yet there were no run-ins with the law at a 2008 monkey wedding in Orissa, another Indian state, that attracted thousands. Nor was there any strife when an Indian man wed a female dog in 2007.)

Two hundred guards from the forest department flooded Talwas on the wedding day after warning that all guests would be arrested. Hundreds of attendees showed up despite the threats, but Raju, Chinki and their owners had fled.

In a final twist, the owners announced that the monkeys married in a secret ceremony deep in the woods. Forest rangers captured the newlyweds, but Ramesh told Stuff that he is confident they will return.

"I know my son Raju, with his wife Chinki, will come back home," Ramesh said. "I will have a big reception for them."

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