Maharashtrian weddings are a simple affair and the emphasis is
more on Sanskar. Of course there are lighter moments too, like
the bride's brother twisting the groom's ear; the couple feeding
each other sweets; and taking each other's names in verses etc.
With changing times, an element of contemporary style has been
infused into the traditional attire, jewellery, food
preparations etc. And some rituals are given a go-by mainly due
to lack of time and space.
The couple are initiated into Grihasthashram- a vow taken by
both to unite and be together all their life while pursuing
dharma, artha, kama, moksha. The bride asks the groom to promise
her that he will never violate her limits - maryada - the groom
asks her to always remain steadfast. They lovingly agree to
devotion and have progeny.
Some common surnames:
Sandhu, Gill, Bedi, Siddhu, Sodhi, Ahluwalia, Garewal, Kairon,
Rarewala, Chimni, Sukhurchakia
Engagement Normally, the engagement ceremony is
conducted at the bride's place.
Sakharpuda literally means 'a packet of sugar' which is
given to each other. It could be a simple affair wherein
the bridegroom and his close relatives come to the
bride's home. But it could also be organised by bride's
side on a larger scale inviting more guests.
The bride flanked by her parents and karvali
i.e. bride's sister sit in a row on pat - wooden board.
The bridegroom's mother applies haldi-kunku and gives a
sari to the bride into which bride is supposed to
change. Thereafter the bridegroom's mother does Oti
Bharane and gives Sakharpuda - a cone shaped decorative
parcel filled with pedhe. Giving gifts to the bride's
parents and karvali is optional. This means first,
bridegroom's side has to give their word to bride's side
that they have fixed the alliance. Similarly, to give
their consent in return, the bride's mother invites the
bridegroom, his parents and karvali to sit on the pat.
She applies kumkum tilak to the groom and his father and
haldi-kunku to groom's mother and karvali and gives a
pant and shirt piece or any clothing item as also
Sakharpuda to the groom. Again gifts to all others are
optional. After this ceremony, the bridegroom puts a
ring on the bride's ring-finger - anamika -of the left
hand. The similar process is repeated by the bride.
The guests are given pedhe, some refreshments or a full
meal. The engaged couple meets the guests and pays
respect to elders by touching their feet. This ceremony
signifies the agreement of the alliance witnessed by
Muhurt Karane On an auspicious day, months
before the wedding day, both the sides start wedding
preparation. Traditionally, it is called muhurt karane
when at least five suvasini - married women are invited.
With iron pestle tied with mango leaves, one by one
suvasinsi pound halkund (dried kaccha haldi) in iron
mortar into fine haldi powder, which is used during
halad chadavane. Thereafter they roll out papads and
make sandage (soaked dals grinded with spices are made
into tiny balls and dried in the Sun). These days, this
tradition is given a go-by.
After muhurt, both the sides, especially, bride's side
goes on a shopping spree. The bride's side prepares for
rukhvat - an exhibition of gift articles, decorative
pieces, handicrafts, eatables such as five types - each
of dry fruits, fruits, ladoos, moramba, sweets etc.
Actually this is to convey bride's various skills but it
goes without saying that anyone can contribute to this
On an auspicious day, the first invitation is given to
Lord Ganesh by visiting his temple and then to other
Gods. Thereafter, invitations are given personally by
parents or uncle-aunts, or any relative as per the
seniority of the invitees. Typically, the ladies carry a
silver kunku karanda and silver bowl with akshata -coloured
rice. The inviting lady applies kunku to the lady of the
house while the inviting gentleman gives invitation
cards topped with akshata to the man of the house and
both formally utter the invitation. The inviting couple
is given some sweets or sugar to accept the invitation
and the sweet news. Because of distances and want of
time, the invitations could also sent out by the post or
Gadagner/ Kelvan The bride's close relatives and friends call
over the bride and her family for a meal and give her a
gift and do oti bharane. The bridegroom's side do the
same to the groom. Two-three days prior to the wedding
day, for gharacha gadgner, close relatives are invited
for a meal at the bride's place where gharacha aher i.e.
parents' and close relatives' wedding gifts are given to
the bride and similar ceremony takes place at groom's
side among his folks. The parents formally give
expensive clothes, jewellery, silverware etc to the
Halad Chadavane On the day before the wedding day, haldi powder pounded
on the muhurt is made into a paste in a plate. One by
one, the five suvasini dip mango leaves - one in each
hand - in plate of haldi paste and apply it first on
feet, then on knees, then on shoulders and then on
forehead of the bride. Each suvasini does this three
times. Thereafter, the bride is given a nice massage of
haldi paste depending on her consent. Since these days
the brides wear make-up they do not like too much
yellowness on the skin. Same ceremony takes place at the
groom's side. Often, ushti halad i.e. haldi paste left
over after applying it to the groom, is taken to the
bride's place and is applied to the bride. The
significance of haldi ceremony is that the aspiring
couple is not supposed to go out and expose themselves.
This may take place on the wedding day before the ritual
Simant literally means boundary. The groom and the
marriage party (barati) are welcomed at the boundary of
the bride's village and her mother does puja of the
groom. These days, it is done on the wedding day itself
at the venue of marriage. Bride's mother washes the
groom's feet by pouring a little water over his feet in
a plate, does kumkum tilak, puts akshata on groom's
head, does arati and gives some sweet or madhupak
(mixture of honey and curd). Groom's folks are also
given sweets or madhupak. The groom is made to sit in
the venue and bride's father gives gifts like suit,
jewellery etc to the groom. Groom's mother and ladies go
to bride's quarter and give her five saris, jewellery
The day before the wedding day, parents of the bride and
the groom in their respective places announce the
marriage that is witnessed by the priest. This ceremony
may take place on the wedding day itself.
The guest are received and welcomed with namaskar at the
doorstep by some elders from both the families. A team of
young maidens gives haldi-kunku, gulab-gajra (rose or thick
string of tiny white flowers like mogra or jui), applies
perfume from attardani on the back of the right hand,
showers perfumed water from gulabdani and gives pedha.
Rukhvat an exhibition of decorative pieces, gifts etc is
arranged in a corner.
Ganapatipujan The auspicious wedding ceremony
begins with Ganpatipujan and a prayer is performed for Lord
Ganesh's blessing to take the wedding through without any
problems or obstruction (nirvighna). This prayer is
performed at both the groom's as well as bride's quarters.
Punyahvachan For purification of minds and place, priests asks
groom/bride and his/her father to pray and ask for the
blessings of everybody at their respective quarters.
It is also called kuldevata sthapana wherein the family
deity is invoked to bless the bridal couple and the ceremony
takes place at groom's as well as bride's quarters.
Gaurihar Puja The bride attired in a yellow sari given by her maternal
uncle and mundavalya (decorative strings of pearls, beads,
flowers) tied on the forehead apart from other jewellery and
facial make-up is all ready to get married. She sits on a
pat in her room and in front of her, a silver idol of
Parvati is placed on a heap of rice on another pat. She
keeps on taking some rice with both her hands and puts atop
the idol while praying the Goddess Annapurna. At this
moment, the bride is not supposed to talk and instead needs
to concentrate on her prayers.
Everybody present in the mandap is
given akshata and everyone stands close to the mandap. The
groom, dressed in dhoti-kurta or salwar-kurta, head covered
with topi and mundavalya tied on the forehead, is invited to
the mandap where he stands on a pat facing west and holding
a thick garland. The priests hold a cloth screen called
antarpat in front of the groom chanting mangalashtaka. The
bride's maternal uncle escorts the bride to the mandap and
she is asked to stand on the other side of the antarpat also
holding similar garland. Respective karvali stands behind
the bride/groom with a copper kalash containing holy water
and topped with betel leaves and coconut. Another young girl
stands with arati. Mostly the bridegroom's mother stands
behind the bride with eksari - black beads string with big
gold bead in the centre .
Enthusiastic relatives, friends and
guests also get chance to sing their own compositions of
mangalashtaka which are typical Sanskrit or Marathi verses
invoking Gods, describing the ceremony, praising the bridal
couple's family members, giving advise to the bridal couple
and finally giving blessing as also best wishes for the life
together ahead. The Groom's mother puts across eksari around
bride's neck and is supposed to tie a knot at the end of
each stanza of mangalashtaka. Each stanza ends with "Kuryat
Sada Mangalam, Shubh Mangal Savdhan" and everyone showering
akshata on the bridal couple.
At the stroke of the muhurt, the priest chants last verses
of the mangalashtaka loudly removing the antarpat and among
the traditional music of vajantri (consists of shehnai and
choughada) and/or modern band, the excitement builds up for
the zero hour. The groom first puts a garland around the
bride's neck. The bride also does the same. The respective
karvalis apply holy water from the kalash to the eyes of
bride and groom and perform arati.
Ladies are given haldi-kunku and all are given sweets mostly
Kanyadan Bride's father gives the bride away to the groom. The
priest asks the groom to join both the palms and receive in
it stream of holy water poured by bride's mother while
bride's father says that he is giving away in marriage his
daughter to this gentleman so that both of them can start
together a life of Dharma, Artha and Kama. The groom accepts
it saying that this is giving away love for love. The one
who gives love is also one who receives love. The groom
tells the bride that she is the shower of love, which has
been given by the Sky and received by the Earth. He asks the
elders to bless them.
Then the bride asks for a promise from the groom that he
will never violate her limits in Dharma, Artha and Kama. The
bride promises the groom that she will always belong to him
like Sita-Savitri and always be by his side.
The bride's parents perform Lakshmi Narayan Puja of the
bridal couple considering them to be avatar of Lakshmi
The couple ties on each other's hand a halkund with a thread
and this is called kankan bandhane.
Akshataropan The bridal couple is asked to hold akshata in left hand
and shower them with the right while expressing their desire
for gunsamriddhi, dhan, dharma, santan (children), kirti
etc. The priest and elders pray that all their desires be
mantras, the groom puts mangalsutra around bride's neck.
Vivah Hom A stone is kept to the west of the homkund (fire) and a
pot of water is kept to its northeast. To the north, four
darbhas are spread on which there are two vessels. A pot of
Ghee is kept nearby. The priest tells the bridal couple that
having taken the oath of marriage now, the same is to be
taken in the witness of the fire (agnisakshi). Then the
priest asks the groom to give ahuti of ghee in the name of
Skanda, Prajapati, Agni and Som. The groom prays to Agni
asking to make them pure and keep their enemy away; asking
for children and their long lives; asking to protect his
bride and make her give good progeny whom she would see by
living a long life.
priest asks the bride to join palms in which the groom puts
a spoonful of ghee, a fistful of lahya (puffed rice) and
again a spoonful of ghee. The groom holds with both his
hands the bride's joined palms and puts this ahuti in the
fire chanting mantras, which means that this girl has
worshipped the fire, which will never make her break loving
ties with her in-laws.
The groom holds the bride's right hand and goes around the
fire and the pot of water chanting mantras that mean, "I am
Purush, you are Prakriti. I am the Sky, you are the Earth. I
am a Song, you are a Chhand (tune). With these conceptual
ideas and love in mind, let us unite forever to procreate.
Let us live hundred years and always have mutual
understanding. The bride is asked to stand on the stone kept
to the west of the fire. The groom asks her to remain
steadfast like the stone.
worshiped the fire, the priest asks the couple to take seven
steps with the same thoughts and determination. The groom,
with his right hand, holds the bride's left hand and starts
taking step towards the north-east direction. First, the
right foot is taken forward and then the left foot is joined
with it while chanting mantras. Like this, seven steps are
taken. At every two feet, small heaps of rice are kept on
which they are supposed to tread. The couple asks for seven
needs of life - one each at each step. These are food,
strength, wealth, happiness, progeny, pleasure of enjoying
various seasons and immortal friendship. The priest says
that this sanskar has extremely strengthened the bond of
friendship between you (the couple) and may your lives be
united like two bodies with a single soul!
The couple is asked to stand facing each other and touch
their foreheads - literally meaning putting their heads
together for decision-making henceforth.
touch of humour is added to the ceremony with the bride's
brother twisting the groom's right ear to remind him of his
responsibility towards his sister.
Bride's mother does oti bharane and gives a sari to the
bride, which she wears. The groom may also change into
another comfortable pair of salwar-kurta. The couple touches
the feet of elders and get blessed.
Manpan The bride's mother does oti
bharane and gives saris to the groom's mother,
sisters/sister-in-laws. Bride's father gives gifts like
pant-shirt piece to the groom's father and
brothers/brother-in-laws. Similarly, groom's parents give
gifts to the bride's family. In tond dhune, the bride's
mother gives a sari and a jewellery piece like motyache tode
or a gold ring or a pearl string to the groom's mother along
with a tea-set etc. In vyahi bhet, bride's father gives a
silver glass to the groom's father. The tond dhune and vyahi
bhet are generally performed next day morning and are
the Lagnamuhurt is in the morning, there is a lunch party
and a reception may be held in the evening. If the
Lagnamuhurt falls in the evening, then the dinner party
combines with the reception.
The groom's side is first invited for lunch after which
other invitees follow. Bride's parents personally look after
each and every guest. Also the bridal couple meets each
guest during lunch and often serves sweets like bundicha
ladoo or jilebi. The guest may insist that the bridal couple
take each other's name in verses - nav ghene. When bridal
couple, groom's parents and karvalis sit for lunch, bride's
mother and other suvasinis perform arati of the couple and
groom's parents and karvalis. Amidst a lot of fun and
laughter, the bride feeds the groom a morsel of sweet and
takes his name in verses and vice-versa. After meal there is
lavangtod - another humorous ritual wherein the bride holds
a clove between her teeth and the groom cuts it with his
Reception The bride wears shalu - jari brocaded silk sari given by the
groom's side and jewellery while the groom wears suit given
by the bride's side. Guests greet, bless or give good wishes
to the couple along with the wedding gifts. A feast is
organised for the guests. Close relatives and friends are
given return gifts. The bridal couple with their families
sit together for the meal and share joy and happiness of the
The ultimate emotional scene of the entire ceremony is when
the bride is bid a goodbye. The groom picks up the silver
idol of parvati that is still sitting on gaurihar. The
couple touch the feet of elders and the bride meets with all
family members who give her a tearful hug. The couple sits
in a vehicle and the procession, with a band and fireworks,
goes to the groom's place.
The couple comes to the doorstep and
the groom's mother does arati of the couple. The bride
topples map - a measuring vessel - filled with rice. It
signifies that this bride - a Lakshmi - will bring so much
luck that prosperity will flow in the house like the rice
flowing out of the toppled vessel. A white sheet is spread
in front of the couple and the bride dips her feet in a
thali filled with a watery kumkum paste and places it on the
sheet. These are considered Lakshmi's steps.
The couple sits and the groom places
the silver idol of Parvati that he carried and places it in
a plate of rice and writes the bride's new name. The groom's
mother does oti bharane of the bride. The groom's mother
sits between the couple and sees the bride's face in the
mirror - this is called soonmukh baghane. The couple gives
sugar to all present and they have to take names in verses
Suhagrat The couple retires to a decorated room with a bed
bedecked in flower, to consummate the marriage. The bride
takes glass of warm milk for the groom and awaits him. The
young relatives tease the groom to heighten the excitement
and send him into the room.
Halad Utaravane Next day morning, five suvasinis do the same as halad
chadhavane but in reverse order. This is to signify that now
the couple is free to go out. The groom mother unties kankan
- halkund tied on the couple's hand.
Tikhati Mejwani Among non-vegetarian Maharashtrians, especially CKP
community, a non-veg feast is organised at both the quarters
separately for the close relatives within a day or two.
Typically, the main dish is mutton-vade or mutton biryani
and the liquor may be served before the food. In olden days,
even women used to sip liquor from small silver bowls and
was funnily called nathi vagdya karane i.e. to take aside
nose rings to facilitate the sips.