The river Chinnar separates Kerala and Tamil Nadu but a bridge across the river has become a hotspot for weddings amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with eleven weddings held at the spot during the last lockdown. All the weddings had one thing in common - one of the parties was from Kerala while the other was from Tamil Nadu. With several restrictions in place regarding the gathering of people as well as interstate travel, the bridge joining the two states has become popular for holding inter-state weddings amid Covid-19 restrictions.
The ‘wedding season’ commenced again and the first wedding on the bridge took place Monday with Unnikrishnan, a native of Marayoor Idukki in Kerala marrying Thangamayil, a native of Batlagundu in Dindigul Tamil Nadu. Incidentally, it was the twenty-seventh birthday of Unnikrishnan. But if last time quarantine restrictions compelled couples to get married on the bride, this year it is time and money required to get Covid-19 tests.
Kerala has mandated a Covid negative certificate for all entering Kerala. But for many, the tests have proved to be too expensive and time-consuming.
According to sources, the bride’s family members were asked to pay Rs 2600 per person for testing in Udumalpettai. The 10 member party from Tamil Nadu would have to cough up Rs 26000 for getting certificates for the entire group. If the groom’s side wanted to conduct the test in private labs in Kerala, to go to Tamil Nadu, it would take more time. So Unnikrishnan decided to get married on the bridge.
It was a simple wedding without a priest. The officials from the Police, Health, Forest and Excise department of both the states oversaw the function. To begin the ritual, the bride presented her covid negative certificate and walked on the bridge. Then the groom followed her after presenting his certificate. The couple were joined by some of their relatives. While the groom tied the knot with the bride, the families of both the bride and groom watched and blessed the auspicious occasion from either side of the bridge.