June 23, 2009—In India the age-old custom of arranged marriages are increasingly made through Internet connections.
© 2009 National Geographic (AP)
India's age-old custom of arranged marriage is stronger than ever thanks to the online matchmaking market.
Deena Kataria is looking for a husband for her daughter Priti, so she's turned to India's leading matchmaking website, Shaadi.com to find her a match.
SOUNDBITE (English) Deena Kataria, Mother: "We want more options for our child you know, we want the best one for a marriage proposal. That's why we came here for Shaadi.com because we heard that we're getting more options here."
Matchmaking is hardly a new phenomenon in India, where arranged marriages are the norm.
But technology has become a mainstay alongside the traditional marriage broker.
SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Sipahimalani, Shaadi.com Centre Manager: "We used to call them Maharajas. They used to come to your house and they used to suggest this family that family. You know they were basically the mediators. Now all that is just phasing out, its very few of that."
The manager claims the shaadi.com center has a 60 percent success rate.
There are now several large internet matchmaking sites for Indians.
SOUNDBITE (English) Mona Sipahimalani, Shaadi.com Centre Manager: "What happens at the center its basically parents who register for their children and naturally parents are not so computer savvy they need help so our advisers help them for that."
Most of the customers come from India, but there are customers from the US, Great Britain, Australia and the Persian Gulf region as well.
But with less than 10 percent of India's population online, there's a lot of room for growth.
SOUNDBITE (English) Gourav Rakshit, Shaadi.com Business Manager: "We didn't try to change the way that matrimony was done, we used the internet as a medium to expand the scope of what was possible, And I think that's something that worked to our advantage, we didn't change the way people did things, we just gave them more options."
The website now claims that its the largest matrimonial service in the world.
Religion, language and caste are still the key search criteria for matrimony.
22 year-old Priti Kataria and her mother are hoping to narrow the search down to a husband living here in Mumbai so she can stay near her family.
SOUNDBITE (English) Priti Kataria, Customer looking for husband: "A partner should be well educated, should have a family background and he should be professionally qualified because even I am to that level. And we're looking from Hindu community mainly."
And there's no rush.
She's given herself a two-year time frame to find the perfect match.