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UNINVITED GUESTS Gate-crashing a wedding is not usually the best way for travelers to endear themselves to the locals, but in Coorg, you don't need to be on the guest list to attend. "Gate-crashing? No!" says Pachi Chengappa, who prepares splendid meals for tourists at her estate. "Coorgs love to entertain outsiders." Turn up at the door of the wedding hall, and you will be invited in for the drinking and dancing. The local Kodava people are a distinct ethnic group in southern India, and though descended from a warrior clan, they are anything but hostile.

The wedding ritual...

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