Rajasthan is a land of deserts and Rajasthanis celebrate their marriage in such pomp and splendor. Marriages are elaborate filled with rituals, traditions and fun. It is a festive celebration for the bride and the groom’s family. A day when two people start on an ecstatic journey of life.
May or Baisakh month is considered very auspicious for marriages. A number of days considered very auspicious for weddings are janam asthami, basant panchami, dhulandi, and Dev uthani gyaras. The Mina, Nai, Sunar, Ahir, Gujar and Jat communities celebrate their weddings on these days even without consulting an astrologer. Bharla naumi is considered very auspicious for weddings. To celebrate weddings on other days an astrologer is consulted to find a mahurat. Mahurat is usually a favorable alignment of the nine plants in the solar cycle.
The first ceremony in the marriage is the engagement or the Sagai. Here the village barber along with relatives goes to the boy’s residence and presents money to the boy in presence of the boy’s relatives. In return the boy’s parents send chura or bangles for the girl. The marriage date is fixed later by the girl’s home and the lagan or peeli chitthi is sent to the boy’s house. It is turmeric colored letter with the date of the wedding or mahurat. The village barber takes the letter to the boy’s house.
Weddings celebrations in both the houses start of when mahurat is decided. Friends and family of the boy and girl are invited by their respective houses for meals called bindora or bindori. The groom is taken back to his house in a bindora procession where four suhagans hold an ornamented odhni. The groom walks under the odhni and the middle of the odhni is held aloft by the bridal sword of the groom.
On the marriage day the groom is dressed in an angarkha and pyjamas or dhoti. The angarkha is pink or red in color. The groom also wears a turban with a coronet or mor, a crest turra or Kalangi and shoes with special designs called pagarkhi. A red cloth of two meters is tied to the waist of the boy, to the free end of the cloth a coconut is tied. The groom carries a pink lace bordered cloth on his shoulders which is tied to the odhni of the bride later. The barat proceeds towards the brides place at a very auspicious hour. Before the barat leaves the groom’s mother suckles him publicly in a ceremony called boba dena. Barat is then received by the bride’s family on the village outskirts. Barat then proceeds to the kumhar or village potters house. The bride’s mother heads the procession with a kalash in her hand followed by five suhagans carrying earthen vessels on their head. The women sing the jala in praise of the bride. The groom on reaching the bride’s house touches the toran with his ceremonial sword. The toran is a decoration in the front of the house made out of wooden frame and decorated with toy peacocks and parrots. The grooms of raj puts perform this while riding on a mare, Jats have the tradition of walking by foot while the Rebaris ride a she camel.
Marriage is performed in the mandap or chenwri which is decorated with weapons handed over generations. A priest performs the marriage ceremony consisting of saat pheras or going around the fire seven times. After a few more ceremonies the groom returns along with his new bride to his home.