Jainism is spread all over India. Though the followers for Jainism are modest and never spread overseas. Jains divided into two sects namely Digambars and Shwetambars. Digambars are people shorn of clothes or garments. Shwetambars wear unstitched white cloth. The concentration of Shwetambars are in North Gujarat, South Rajasthan and in Agra – Uttar Pradesh. They are also found in Sammed Shikar in North India. Digambar Jains are mainly found in Karnataka. The Agarwals of Gujarat are mainly Shwetambars. Their marriage rituals consist of the pre marriage celebrations, marriage celebrations and post marriage celebrations.
First is the Mudha Tikka or the engagement. The groom’s family carry gifts like diamond ring, clothes for the bride, jaggery, dry fruits, and rice on a big tray to the bride’s home. Godh Barai is the next celebration where the groom’s sisters carry gifts to the bride’s house. The gifts include, sweets, jewellery, clothes and toys. They are placed on the jholi or lap of the bride. Toys are a special gift with a wish to the bride to have many children. Gifts are very important in marriage celebrations. Sangeet is the musical get together of the ladies in the family. The bride is dressed in all finery she was gifted on tikka and made to sit on a silver ‘chowkri’ or low stool. Naandi or the pre wedding pooja is celebrated atleast 10 days before the marriage and helps the marriage to take place without any hindrance or hassles.
The Mama or the bride’s maternal uncle plays an important role in the marriage. He extends a helping hand to his sister for the huge expenditure incurred during marriage. Bhaat is the invitation of the maternal uncle to the bride’s house for a fine feast along with his sister. Here the mama gives his loving niece – the bride gifts for her marriage so that she does not make further claims on her father’s wealth. Tel Baan and Mehndi are an integral part of the celebrations which is a form of getting ready the bride and the groom for the wedding celebrations. The marriage celebrations of the Agarwal marriage are the Korath, Baraat, Baraat Swagat, Varamala, Kanyadaan, Seer Guthi and Chuda. Groom’s sister has an important role in the wedding celebrations.
Post marriage celebrations include Mooh Dekai and Jua and Muti-bund, Vidaai, and Vadhu Pravesh. All these celebrations show the importance of the bride in the marriage. Digambar Jains are mainly found in Karnataka State and neighbouring state of Maharastra. They celebrate their weddings in the typical south Indian style. First the Lagna Patrikai is prepared by the bride and grooms family. There is exchange of the marriage cards between the two families. Next big event in the Digambar Jain marriage is the Manae Devaru Poojai which consists of keeping a Kalash and praying to the almighty to conduct the marriage without any obstacles.
Like the marriage day the Poojai day is celebrated on a very auspicious day. Devaru Ootta or the meal with blessing of gods is taken by the close relatives of the family. After this event the bride and the groom are not supposed to leave their homes. Previous day of the marriage is the Thamba Prathistai and Kankanam Katusthathu. The sacred thread called Kankanam is tied to the bride and groom and after this they should not see each other. Marriage day is when the groom goes on Kashi Yatre as an ascetic, the bride’s parents convince him that they would give their daughter in marriage to break his bachelorhood. Withn the performance of patha poojai the groom is brought to the choultry.
The marriage consists of tying the thali and Nagavalli shastra with the sumangalis blessing the bride. Kanya Daan is prepared at the last when water is poured on the hand of the bride and the father gives the daughter away in marriage. The marriage of Shwetambars are a typical north Indian marriage and Digambar marriage is a south Indian style marriage. There is no Baraat in the Digambar marriage which has many rituals.