Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:48PM
Participants pose for a photo at the mass wedding of 236 fatherless girls in the city of Surat, Gujarat, hosted by a benevolent tycoon, on December 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Participants pose for a photo at the mass wedding of 236 fatherless girls in the city of Surat, Gujarat, hosted by a benevolent tycoon, on December 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Indian tycoon Mahesh Savani has hosted a lavish wedding ceremony for the marriage of more than 230 fatherless girls, giving each gifts worth thousands of dollars.

The 48-year-old diamond trader threw the mega-wedding ceremony for 236 fatherless brides, belonging to lower middle class families, in the city of Surat, in the western province of Gujarat, at Christmas.

The gala event, which began on Thursday and ended on Sunday, saw hundreds of brides in colorful ethnic attire and ornate shining jewelry performing wedding rituals before thousands of guests.

The Surat-based benevolent magnate also gave each bride a set of household items, including furniture, a gold jewelry set, and expensive clothes, plus a paycheck of 500,000 rupees ($7,400) to each to help them begin their married life.

Mahesh Savani, an Indian tycoon

“With Sunday's mass wedding, I have become [a] proud father to have performed ‘Kanyadaan’ of over 700 girls” so far, Savani said on Sunday, using a Hindu religious term for the wedding ritual.  

Last year, Savani sponsored the wedding of 151 fatherless girls, and in 2014 helped a further 111 to get married.

“Since 2008, I have been sponsoring weddings for girls who lost their father and have no other social support in their families. Almost 800 girls call me papa as I have become their foster father,” Savani said earlier this week.

Indian wedding ceremonies are world-famous for their grand scale with multi-course feasts and huge tents arranged to entertain hundreds or even thousands of guests. Performing the lavish wedding is a huge burden for poor families.