An Indian real estate tycoon funded a mass wedding ceremony that allowed 251 women from poor backgrounds to get married in the western state of Gujarat on Christmas Eve.
Businessman Mahesh Savani hosted the wedding in Surat city for Hindu couples as well as those belonging to the Muslim and Christian minorities, German press agency (dpa) reported.
Savani has been funding and organizing marriages for girls who have lost their fathers and were unable to pay for the cost of a wedding.
Since 2012, he has helped 969 girls get married at such mass weddings.
Savani said: "I have two sons but no daughter, though I always wanted one. These girls are like my daughters, I am a like a foster father to them, it gives me a lot of joy to see them happy."
Savani’s Assistant Ravi Vanja said besides paying for the ceremonies, Savani also pays for gifts such as gold and silver ornaments and household items, like electronic items and furniture for each bride, totaling up to 400,000 rupees ($6,250).
He also pays for expenses after the wedding, including maternity costs and schooling for children.
Mass marriages are common in India as a way of reducing costs for poorer couples. Such weddings are usually organized by community groups, philanthropists or local leaders.