The story has a tough cigarette smoking hero, his lover girl, emotional turbulence and finally a happy wedding. Sounds like usual drama? Not really. The characters in this story are monkeys who live among humans.

According to a Reuters report two monkeys tied the knot in the forests of northwestern India on Friday.

Worship of animals as avatars of the gods isn't new in Hindu beliefs. Monkeys enjoy significant role in Hindu mythology where they are worshiped as avatars of Hanuman, the mighty ape that helped Rama in his fight against evil.

 

Saini,

Saini, the 38-year-old auto rickshaw driver, plays with his monkey Raju in his house at Banetha village, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, July 4, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui 

 

Raju, the groom, was famous in his village, attracting crowds wherever he went. He was known for eating, sleeping and smoking cigarettes with his owner, Ramesh Saini, who treated him like a son.

Two months ago Saini met soon-to-be-bride Chinki's caretaker, a priest in a nearby village, who proposed the marriage of the two monkeys.

 

Saini,

Saini, the 38-year-old auto rickshaw driver, shares a cigarette with his monkey Raju. Source: Reuters/Danish Siddique

 

Plans for the wedding of Raju and Chinki were welcomed by the people of the small village of Talwas, with excitement.

I want to enjoy the feelings of a son's marriage through Raju's wedding, said Rajesh, a 38-year-old married but childless auto rickshaw driver who nursed Raju back to health after finding him unconscious three years ago.

We will welcome the bride in our house in Banetha after the wedding with all rituals, said an excited Saini while offering tea to the newly wed Raju at a roadside tea shop.

 

Women

Women dance in the village temple during a pre-wedding function at Talwas village, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, July 5. Source: Reuters/Danish Siddique

 

In keeping with tradition of Big Fat Indian Wedding hundreds of invitation cards were sent out to nearby villages for the wedding. The ceremony was planned according to traditional Hindu customs that include seven rounds of the sacred fire as the wedding vows are recited by a priest. A huge pre-wedding feast was planned, along with a procession with Raju on a horse.

Here comes the villain to interrupt all the happiness of couple and their families. As news of the marriage spread, the state forest department officials stepped into action. Monkeys are protected in India as government property, which means no one can pet them, train them or marry them, even to a fellow monkey. Officials issued their final warning and the monkeys along with their owners went into hiding.

It's illegal to marry a monkey. Anyone found doing that or attending the marriage ceremony will be arrested, said forest range officer Bhavar Singh Kaviya.

I have come all the way just to watch God's marriage and now the police are telling me to go back and stay away from the temple, said Prem Jain, an angry 72-year-old villager, after arguing with a policeman. They told me the monkeys have been captured. They can't capture God!

 

Forest

Forest department officials try to persuade villagers to call off a wedding between two monkeys at Talwas village. Source: Reuters/danish Siddique

 

Gloom set in, as the villagers tried hard to understand why the monkey couple's marriage is being interrupted by the authorities. Then came the big news- The monkeys were married off in a secret ceremony held in the interiors of forest.

Forestry officials immediately set out to look for the pair and finally found Chinki tied to a tree. She sported the vermillion mark worn by married Hindu women on their foreheads.

 

A

A forest guard stands next to Chinki, a monkey, after it was found tied to a tree outside Talwas village. Source: Reuters/Danish Siddique

 

The monkey couple was captured and officials said they hoped to release them soon in nearby forests, but Raju's owner Saini was confident of their eventual return.

I know my son Raju, with his wife Chinki, will come back home, said an emotional Ramesh, mingling with the crowd to avoid being caught. I will have a big reception for them.

 

Raju

Raju is seen chained to a wooden log on a thatched roof at Banetha village. Source: Reuters/Danish Siddique