In what was undoubtedly the most spectacular event that New Zealand had ever seen, Chicago born Vikram Aditya Kumar wed former Miss Earth Pooja Chitgopeker at a fabulous setting in the exclusive Formosa Club in South Auckland on January 7.
With helicopters flying over the City in ‘V’ formation (signifying Vikram), a Chariot drawn by four horses and the groom’s party singing and dancing on the streets, some of the world’s finest entertainers performing and an exquisitely decorated marriage venue, it was a Wedding to remember.
None of the political and other celebrities including former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Alaska Governor and GOP Presidential runner Sarah Palin, Cricket Master Sachin Tendulkar and the New Zealand leadership was present as expected earlier, but the three-day event, held from January 6 to 8 became the talk of the town and perhaps widely discussed in US and India.
The Wedding Day ceremonies began with traditional prayers at the Bharatiya Mandir on Balmoral Road by the Wedding Party of the groom and the bride.
Auckland City District Western Area Commander Inspector Jim Wilson and his team did a commendable job in ensuring that the procession was carried out without a hitch.
As Vikram’s father Shalabh Kumar and other close members of the family rode in horses accompanying the groom in the chariot, Daler Mehndi, the world’s most celebrated Bhangra Pop Singer and his group and Rhythm Dhol Group entertained the Party and other onlookers as they moved to Pine Harbour, where the Formosa Resort is located (about 37 kms from the Auckland City Centre).
There were about 500 people at the Formosa Club to witness the Wedding, more than 300 of who had flown in from many parts of the world to witness a fairy-tale marriage, replete with Indian traditions and customs.
Air New Zealand had chartered a special flight for the groom’s party from Los Angeles to Auckland.
The ceremonies were covered by New Zealand’s TV3 radio stations, and a number of other Indian television channels, showcasing what was touted to be ‘The Wedding of the Decade.’
Leading newspapers in New Zealand, India and the US covered the wedding.
It was a home wedding for Indian Newslink, which had known the Chitgopeker family for more than ten years and the first to break the news about the Wedding in its October 1, 2010 issue.
In all, more than 1500 chosen guests attended the events on the three days, beginning with a Mehndi and Sangeet ceremony on January 6 with a number of local performers, including Viraf Todywalla of V4U Entertainments and his group. A number of local singers and dancers added value to the event.
The Reception held on January 8 was one of the grandest seen in recent years in Auckland. Exotic Sweets and Restaurant, who was the caterer on all the days, served a seven-course dinner, with more than 100 waiters and assistants in attendance at the venue.
Hundreds of people worked round the clock over the past week to make the ‘Big, Fat Wedding’ happen, much to the awe of everyone present on the occasion. A number of event management and public relations companies were involved in organising the extravaganza.
Pooja is a highly accomplished daughter of Dr Mohan and Aruna Chitgopeker. She won the Miss Indianz Title in 2002, Miss India Earth and Miss Earth Air in 2007. After several years of practice in England and New Zealand, Dr Mohan now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Pooja graduated in November last year qualifying herself as a doctor. She will shortly move to Chicago to establish her medical practice.
The couple are now in Maldives on their honeymoon.
Mr Kumar is the Chairman and Chief Executive of the multi-million dollar Autotech Viktron Group, which he established in the US in 1975. Vikram is ‘Chief Executive-in-waiting’ of the Group.
With operations worldwide and offices in Bangalore, the Company is arguably a leader in the manufacture of industrial control products including Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and Printed Circuit Boards.