Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Monday had a taste of Himachali culture when he savoured local delicacies during his foster sister's reception ceremony in this town. The reel-life hero also left the crowd swaying after he danced to the tunes of Himachali songs.
Clad in full-sleeve round neck T-shirt and blue jeans, Salman wore sunglasses as he was accompanied by brother Sohail at Himachal Pradesh's Mandi town, located on the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21, in the morning to attend his younger sister Arpita's marriage reception.
Interacting with the crowd at the reception venue, Salman, who looked suave in a suit at the ceremony, struck an emotional chord by saying: "I have come here to hand over my sister, who is my heart."
"I heard that people of Himachal are very good so are the locals of Mandi. It gives me a great pleasure to see the good people around... Now I have a connection with people of Mandi and Himachal Pradesh. I will do whatever I can do for you people."
The Khans later danced to the region's folk music.
Arpita is married to Aayush Sharma, son of state rural development minister Anil Sharma. They tied the knot on November 18 last year.
The week-long celebrations in Mumbai and the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad were attended by stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif.
"We feel honoured with the visit of Salman Khan and, of course, excited over bahu's (daughter-in-law) first homecoming," Anil Sharma told IANS.
Arpita tweeted on May 22: "Looking forward to going bk (back) to Mandi HP as Mrs. Arpita Khan Sharma."
A traditional community feast, locally called "Dham", was organised to felicitate the daughter-in-law and the son at the celebrations, where more than 10,000 people, mostly from the area, were invited.
"Dham" is a traditional meal served on leaf plates to the guests sitting on the floor. The feast consists of the finest ingredients, traditional recipes and methods. It is cooked by chefs trained by the "botis" or hereditary cooks.
It is basically a four-course unlimited meal.
The main course has the chaa ghosht or lamb cooked in yoghurt gravy, or murgh anardana, chicken stewed in pomegranate paste, for non-vegetarians.
For vegetarians, it was Himachali dal channa, split gram with fennel seeds, and mathri choware, lentil fritters in spinach gravy.
For those with a sweet tooth, there was meethe chawal (sweetened red rice with dry fruits and saffron).
The food was cooked in copper vessels which impart a unique flavour to the dishes.
The Khans reached Sundernagar town in a chartered chopper from Chandigarh. From there, they drove to Mandi town, which is dotted with more than 80 temples built in typical hill architecture. It's popularly called "Chhoti Kashi".