Atlanta, Georgia

This past weekend I ventured to Atlanta, Georgia for a wonderful friend’s wedding weekend. As it was an Indian ceremony, there were pre- and post-wedding rituals and celebrations from Friday to Sunday, but I was still able to catch a glimpse of the city. This marked my third visit to Atlanta and it was just as peachy as I remembered, but perhaps a bit warmer—26°C (80°F) with direct sun—but it’s August, so it’s to be expected.

Due to work schedules, JRS and I weren’t able to arrive in the city until Saturday, missing the Mehndi ceremony on Friday, a traditional ritual in which henna is applied to the bride’s hands and feet, as well as the Manglik Prasango on Saturday morning. Alas, we arrived in ATL around noon and only had a few hours before the Raas-Garba, so we decided to venture a few blocks from our hotel to the Georgia Aquarium. We purchased our tickets at 1pm, but the wait time was pushed back to 2pm because there were so many people. It worked out though because we were starving and grabbed a bite at Pemberton Café

The aquarium is fantastic, but there were so many people inside that it took away from the experience. I suggest arriving at opening time in the morning.

After the aquarium we took a stroll through Centennial Olympic Park

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…and then met up with our friends for a drink at Park Bar, which I definitely recommend.

After cooling down and reviving ourselves with some craft beers, it was time to trek back to the hotel and change into our Indian attire for the Raas-Garba at the Palace Restaurant & Banquet Hall. If you’ve never attended a Rass-Garba, prepare yourself for LOTS of food and hours of non-stop dancing. (Not exaggerating.)

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Garba is a solo Indian dance which involves rhythmic steps in a circle. As the music progresses, circles of people inside a larger circle form, with each circle adding a different movement. It sounds complex, but I assure you it isn’t and so worth jumping in and out of. Later in the evening comes Raas, done in pairs while holding sticks called dandiya. The dance involves hitting your partner’s dandiya with your own while following the beat of the music. Raas, like Garba, is also easy-come-easy-go.

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The next morning, JRS and I slept in until about 10am and then ordered room service. I hate to do both of those things when I travel—1. I want to wake up early and use as much time as I have available in the day and 2. I love to try a local place for breakfast—but staying up until 2am dancing does one in.

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After breakfast we pulled ourselves together and took a taxi to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, just next to Piedmont Park in midtown. (Visiting botanical gardens is one of my have-to’s when I travel.) The Atlanta gardens were beautiful and the collections were fantastic! I didn’t read anything before visiting so I was very impressed by the Canopy Walk, the Earth Goddess sculpture, the  Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen and the Children’s Garden.

Finally, it was time for the big event — the marriage ceremony followed by a cocktail hour and finally, the glamorous reception.

Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your wonderful weekend, Sajal.

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