Rajasthan is known for its rich culture and royal heritage. The state is also one of the favourite wedding destinations of the rich.
Be the grand opulence of the palaces or the spicy cuisine, Rajasthan has a unique grandeur which no other place could claim.
Like the rich heritage of the state, the Rajasthani weddings are also grand and extend over a period of days. The state is also native to the Marwari people. Most of the Marwari people are traders and belong to the upper strata of the society. So their weddings are also grand affairs with many pre and post wedding ceremonies. Marwari weddings are always grand and have regal look.
Marwari weddings follow all the ancient traditional customs and ceremonies.
Once an alliance is formed between two families, the date for the engagement ceremony will be fixed which will be held at the groom's place. The ceremony is called a Tilak ceremony. For this function, only the male members from the bride's side would go to the groom's home.
At the groom's place, the bride's brother would apply a tilak on the groom's forehead and he would also get gifts from the bride's family.
After the tilak ceremony come Ganapati sthapna and griha shanti. These functions are held at the respective houses of the bride and the groom. A yagya (a Hindu religious prayer like function) is organised at the houses and an idol of God Ganapati is installed at the houses for prosperity and to remove any obstacles to the marriage.
To prepare the bride and the groom for the marriage a ceremony called Pithi Dastoor is conducted. The bride and the groom are applied a paste made of turmeric and sandalwood by the family members.
Like the North Indian weddings, the Marwari weddings also have sangeet ceremony, but it is called mehfils. It is conducted at the respective houses of the bride and the groom. Traditional songs and dances are the highlights of the mehfils.
Another pre-wedding custom is called mahira dastoor. The maternal uncles of both the groom and the bride will distribute gifts among the family members. During Janev the groom will be made to wear a sacred white thread around his upper body and he will pretend to run away from the wedding. He will be convinced to enter the marital bliss by his maternal uncle.
This is function is followed by Palla Dastoor. The groom's family would visit the bride's family and would bring jewellery, and wedding attire to be worn by the bride on her wedding day. During the ritual, the bride will also worship goddess Gauri.
On the wedding day, the groom's brother-in-law would tie the turban on the groom's head. This ceremony os called Nikasi. A sehra is also tied on the turban which would act as a veil to hide the groom's face.
Later, the groom along with his family would reach the bride's house or the wedding venue on horse top or sometimes on an elephant. The baraat and the groom are welcomed by the bride's family. The female members of the bride's family, especially the bride's mother, would welcome the groom with aarti and he will be taken in by the bride's brother.
After the groom sits on the mantap the bride will arrive. Her face will be hidden in a veil and she will keep it like that till the conclusion of the marriage ceremony.
The main rituals of the marriage ceremony are jaimala - the exchange of garlands, granthi bandhan - one end of the cloth which has been tied around the groom's waist is tied to the bride's shawl, saath pheres - where the couple would walk around the holy fire seven times.
Other important ceremonies are panigrahan - the bride's right hand will be placed on the groom's right hand and seer-guthi - applying sindhoor or vermilion on the bride's parting of the hair.
Once the wedding rituals are over the bride is taken into the groom's house. This ritual is called bidai. A coconut is usually placed under the wheel of the car for prosperity.
Once the bride reaches her new house she is welcomed into the house by her mother-in-law. She would enter the house by putting her right foot over the threshold of her new house into a small plate of vermilion paste. She will walk into the house with both her feet covered in vermillion and she would take five steps and kick over a small pot filled with rice and coins. This custom symbolises prosperity and good fortune.
This tradition is followed by and mooh dikhai rituals. During pagelgani the bride who is still in the veil will remove her veil and is introduced to her new family members. And during the mooh dikhai ritual all the relatives from the groom's side present gifts to bride and bless the couple.