Wednesday, September 21, 2005
NEW DELHI —India may be the land of the Kamasutra (search), the famed ancient treatise on sex, but in the country's hinterlands, public displays of affection remain strictly taboo.
An Israeli couple discovered just how staid the small towns of India can be when they were fined 500 Indian rupees (U.S. $11) each for embracing and kissing after getting married in the Hindu holy town of Pushkar (search) in northwestern India, the Asian Age newspaper reported Wednesday.
The Israeli Embassy in New Delhi confirmed the incident and identified the couple as Alon Orpaz and Tehila Salev, who decided to get married on a visit to India. The embassy did not provide any additional details.
The Asian Age said priests at Pushkar's Brahma temple were so incensed when the couple, married in a traditional Hindu ceremony, smooched as hymns were still being chanted that they filed a complaint with the police.
A court in Pushkar then charged the couple with indecency and ordered them to pay the fine or face 10 days in prison, the newspaper reported, adding that the couple decided to pay up.
"We will not tolerate any cultural pollution of this sort," the newspaper quoted a priest, Ladoo Ram Sharma, as saying.
Asian Age reported that the priests planned to ask the government to require tourists to be appropriately dressed when visiting the holy town and its temples.
Pushkar, located on the banks of Pushkar Lake (search), is a popular Hindu pilgrimage spot. But it is also frequented by foreign tourists, who come for the town's annual cattle fair and camel races.