Royalty, rich cultural heritage and a magnificent lifestyle are the reflection of the Rajasthan we all know and their wedding traditions are no exception. Weddings from the desert state are truly one-of-a-kind with the opulent decorations, vibrant colours, traditional and folk dance form and music. Here we explore unique Rajasthani wedding traditions. Read on and explore how you can include some of them in your to-be nupitals.
Rajasthani Wedding Traditions
Different Rajasthani communities have different traditions and customs. Each more colourful and magnificent than the other. As much as the base traditions remain the same, their way of expressing them can be quite different. You can see classic examples of this in Rajasthani wedding traditions from the Rajput and Marwari communities.
Rajput Wedding Traditions:
Conventionally, the warrior class is known for rich and royal Rajasthani weddings. You can see the display of valour in modern-day weddings, whether it's in the groom carrying a sword or riding on a horse or elephant at the head of his Baraat. Each Rajput family has its own set of values that frame their wedding rituals making it a grand royal affair:
Here are some Rajasthani wedding traditions that are specific to this community:
1. Tilak ceremony:
The Tilak ceremony in the Rajasthani wedding is an equivalent of the traditional Roka ceremony, where the impending marriage is officially announced. A male ceremony, the men from the bride-to-be's home bear gifts for the groom and his family (a sword, clothes, jewellery, sweets). The bride's brother anoints the groom with a Tilak. This is nowadays, followed by an exchange of rings at a ring ceremony or Sagaai.
2. Ganpati Sthapana:
No Shubh event is organised amid Hindu traditions without invoking the Gods. And here, this is done by inviting Lord Ganesha to come home and bless the wedding. In this ceremony, an idol of Lord Ganesha is welcomed into the home for prayers. In fact, we can see a similar invocation of Ganpathi in Maharashtrian wedding traditions.
3. Pithi Dastoor:
A variant of the well-loved Haldi ceremony in Rajasthani wedding where the bride and the groom are the playful victims. Relatives apply Haldi paste on the bride and groom. This paste has turmeric and sandalwood in it which bring glowing and radiant skin before the big day. Yellow is the colour of the event!
The Rajputi 'Mehfil' is the music and dance night, or the Sangeet ceremony.
Traditionally, this is the night when the bride and the groom side all come together to enjoy the traditional form of dance. These days, we see it becoming into a performance night when relatives and friends prepare and perform their own bits for all to enjoy.
5. Mahira Dastoor:
In this fun ceremony, the ‘Mama’ brings gifts for the bride/groom and their families. Traditionally it symbolizes that he is also sharing the expense of the wedding.
6. Palla and Janev Ceremony:
The Palla ceremony is done in the early hours of the wedding day where the groom’s side comes to visit the bride with gifts of clothing and jewellery. On the other hand, the Janev ceremony takes place at the groom’s place where he is dressed is saffron and performs a ceremony before putting an orange thread around his neck. This embarks their acceptance for the new marital life.
This is the Sehra ceremony where the groom’s sisters tie a golden thread Sehra around the groom’s head and then apply a black Kajal to ward off any evil. This is right before the Barat ceremony.
8. Varmala and Pheras:
Contrary to the general practice of 7 Pheras at the mandap, a Rajasthani wedding only has 4 Pheras at the mandap when they circle around the holy fire and the remaining 3 are taken later at the entrance of the bride’s new house.
The bride and groom take seven steps together. Each of these steps represents a promise that they make to each other showing the commitment to build their happily ever after
Marwari Wedding Traditions:
The Marwaris are the original residents of the region of Marwar which is now known to be the city of Jodhpur. They are one of the biggest communities in India and their wedding celebrations are grand and extravagant. Their marriages glisten with wealth and sparkle and yet are very rooted in their traditions and rituals. Here are a few Rajasthani wedding traditions which are unique to this community.
1. Byah Haath:
A musical interface, here women from the families of the bride and groom celebrate the upcoming nuptials by singing 'Mangal Geet' in front of their homes and making sweets called 'Mangodis'. This could happen as soon as five days before the wedding or even 21 days before it.
2. Bhaat Nyotana:
The first wedding invitations are sent to the bride's maternal uncle and aunt, alongside her maternal grandparents. They receive these invitations alongside an assortment of gifts and provide return gifts to the bride's mother as well. They also assure their support to do their bit in the upcoming wedding ceremony. They bear a portion of the wedding's expenses and bear gifts for all on the wedding day, especially their sister.
The Nyotana has the second part in the Bhaat Bharna ceremony, where the maternal uncles are fed rice, lentils and jaggery on the wedding day.
3. Nandi Ganesh Puja:
Like the Rajputi wedding traditions, a Ganesh puja is entrenched in Marwari rituals as well. What's unique, however, is the belief that God would be part of the wedding as a small boy. So, a young child (called Bindayak) accompanies both the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be through their separate rituals.
The community also has its own version of Engagement, Mehndi, Sangeet, a Bachelor's party and more rituals which precede the main wedding ceremony.
4. Thamb Puja:
A unique puja, this is a symbolic joining of the foundations of the two families, quite literally! The priests from the groom's side perform a puja for the foundational pillars of the bride's home. This is why it's termed the 'Thamb Puja'.
The bride and groom get ready for the impending ceremony with a ritualistic bath.
6. Kunvara Manda Yagna:
11 priests are invited for a havan and served lunch to bless the upcoming ceremony. They are also bestowed a Dakshina for attending the affair.
A Puja for the Goddess Parvati is carried out at the bride's home, where she is bedecked with clothes and jewellery sent by the groom's side, alongside wedding attire for the bride.
A Baraat from the groom's side begins for the bride's home after they receive a symbolic welcome from the other side. The male elders from her side and their priest invite the baraat over, after which they begin their journey.
Common Elements in Rajasthani Wedding Traditions
Here are some common elements in all of these celebrations:
- Bright, vivid colours
- Elaborate weddings with intricate rituals.
- Ceremonies extend to 3-4 days
- Blessings and involvement of elders in all rituals
How to include Rajasthani elements in your wedding
Add a royal Rajasthani flavour to your wedding by planning a destination wedding in Udaipur, the city of Lakes. Not a fan of destination weddings? You can simply add some subtle elements for a hint of Rajasthani wedding essence in your wedding.
Or you can simply add the beautiful mirror work Bandhini fabric to your wedding décor. You can even play around with the style of the wedding invites and make them Rajasthani themed. The colours, the jewellery, the outfits, the artwork, inspiration has no end to it.
We hope we have made a dent in your know-how of Rajasthani Wedding Traditions with this piece. Let us know in the comments section below!