Kashmiri Hindu Pandit Weddings: Customs, rituals and preparations

More or less we all are aware of Kashmir’s mesmerizing landscape and as a tourist we know how fascinating the destination is. But do we know enough about Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, their culture and wedding? If you are intrigued to know more about the real beauty of Kashmir, that is, its people and culture, then read on.

Kashmiri Hindu Pandits weddings have been well-captured by some of the Bollywood movies; one of such movies is the famous Imtiaz Ali’s movie Rockstar. It perfectly managed to display the real essence of a Kashmiri Hindu Pandit wedding by adding essential elements and doing proper research. So, we know such weddings are no less than a fairy tale.

Let’s read further and enlighten ourselves with the rich culture and rituals of Kashmiri Pandit weddings.

 

The process

Weddings are a joyful moment and an important day worth celebrating with friends and family. From the beginning of the preparation till the wedding day, every day is a sequence of events and a lot of tasks. But the prime essence of weddings is hidden in their rituals.

Like all arranged marriages, Kashmiri Hindu Pandit marriages start with the blessings of both families involved. Above all the tasks, matching the teknis (horoscope) of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be is the first and most important thing to be taken care of, then other things like background, principles, etc of both the families are taken into consideration.

Now once the teknis (horoscope) matches, both families give their approval to the wedding. The bride’s family then proposes a date that is further approved by the groom’s family. The pandit ji then puts a seal on the date of the wedding. The Kashmiri Pandit marriages are generally celebrated in the morning or evening or at the auspicious time chosen by the pandit.

 

Finding the right banquet   

Choosing the right wedding hall is the foremost thing to do. Whenever we talk about organizing a wedding, we always look forward to the spaces for the functions to be held and to accommodate the guests. The surroundings with perfect wedding ambience that adds up to the venue would be great.

Once the wedding date is fixed and finalized, the families look for several options of wedding halls and book them for the main day – the wedding and the pre-wedding rituals, depending on the families’ choice.

 

Here is a list of some of the popular wedding halls in Jammu and Kashmir you can check:

 

  • Ginger Hotel, Katra
  • R K Sarovar Portico
  • Blue Moon Banquet
  • Fortune Inn Rivera, Jammu
  • Kingsville-Banquet & Resort
  • Hotels Raddison, Srinagar
  • The Address Banquet
  • Hotel Heritage Luxury
  • Aisa One Planet
  • Grand KP
  • Dewdrop Trinetar Resort
  • Orchard Retreat & spa

 

Budget-Friendly Banquets-

 

  • Jamal Resorts Srinagar
  • KDN Palace, Jammu
  • Hotel New Park
  • Four A Resorts
  • Evoke Lifestyle Katra
  • Shah Resort

 

 Pre-wedding rituals

 

Kasamdry

After the successful matching of horoscopes and the agreement of both families to proceed further, a date is fixed by the family purohit (pandit) according to the Kashmiri Hindu calendar. On this date, the families and the close ones of the Kashmiri pandit bride and groom meet at the temple. As a proper commitment of marriage, kasamdry or the formal engagement ceremony is done. Both families gather at the temple and exchange flowers as a sign of affection as well as to welcome the new phase of life.

Moving on, they perform pooja at the temple and pray for the blessings of the two to be wedded. Then, the bride’s family treats everyone with traditional Kashmiri delights. Both the families of the bride and groom prepare a traditional rice pudding known as Var and distribute it among their family and friends. The bride’s family also sends fruits, dry fruits, coins and a pot of nabad (mishri) to the groom’s house.

 

Livun

Livun is a day chosen with the consent of pandits. It is a traditional cleaning of the bride’s and groom’s house. Also, a mixture of mud is applied to beautify the floors of the house. The females of the family come together to pitch in. Generally, livun is not performed on the same day in the bride’s and groom’s families. It is the same day when the waza (family cook) arrives and prepares a wuri (mud-and-brick oven) in the backyard and all the wedding feasts are cooked in the wuri. All the meals to be prepared are all strictly vegetarian. Gifts and Vars are also distributed among friends and family.

 

Krool Khanun

The Krool Khanun ritual refers to the decoration of houses with floral arrangements. This gives the house a perfect ambience of marriage.

 

Wavnun

From now on till the day before the wedding, guests arrive at both houses of the families every evening where the perfect wedding ambience is set up by the traditional Kashmiri folk songs and dances. The guests who arrived are served traditional salted red tea or sheer chai.

 

Maenziraat

In maenziraat, a bathing ritual is performed in the bride’s house where the bride’s feet are washed by her maternal aunt. After that, the bride’s hands and feet are adorned in ornate Heena designs with the maenz or henna paste. Other family members and neighbours also decorate their hands with heena designs. Everyone is also served meals prepared by waza. Maeziraat is also performed at the groom’s place, not on a larger scale.

 

51 Thaal 

The bride’s family sends 51 plates or thaals containing sweets, fruits, dry fruits and other food items to the groom’s house.

 

Phoolon ka Gehna and Snazaroo

In this ritual, the groom’s family sends a mirror, cosmetics, a makeup box and a betel leaf wrapped in gold or silver foil to the bride. The jewellery of flowers is also sent by the groom’s family, which the bride has to wear on the morning of her wedding.

 

Kanishran

Kanishran is a part of a divagone ceremony in which the bride and the groom bathe with a mixture of rice, curd, milk and water and flowers are showered on them. After that, they wear new clothes. The bride’s parents give their daughter jewellery, clothes and other items.

 

Devagone

Both families offer pooja separately in their houses to the Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva embarking on their beginning of Grihastha Ashram. The ornaments and the utensils given by her parents are sanctified in front of the sacred fire (hawan).

 

Duribat

After the rituals of devagone are performed, both the bride and groom invite their maternal relatives for lunch where they are served traditional Kashmiri dishes.

 

Wedding attire- The groom and the bride 

The Kashmiri groom wears a traditional cloth at their wedding. Starting from head to toe, the head of the groom is decorated with Gordstar. A Gordstar is a turban or headgear tied with a peacock feather on the top. A pheran similar to long sleeved kurta is worn by the Kashmiri Pandit groom. A pheran is tied at the waist with a Louing (waistband) made of pashmina adorned with golden thread called zarbaf. They wear a regional shoe called Paazar. The necklace is either of pearls or gold completes the groom’s attire and gives a perfect and elegant look.

The wedding dress of a Kashmiri Hindu bride is quite colorful and attractive. Starting from the top, the bride’s head is covered with a long kalpush and a white cloth called zoojh is wrapped over Kalpush. At the top of the zoom a glace paper is stitched to it. The overall headgear is known as tarang. A heavily embellished dupatta matching the pheran is worn over tarang. She wears a dazzling pheran which is similar to salwar kameez embroidered with intricate designs. A pheeran is heavily fabricated with zari work with a touch-up of traditional Kashmiri threadwork. This pheran is adorned with a waistband on her waist. The ornaments complete the bridal look of a Kashmiri Hindu Bride.

The necklace covering her neck, the ear rings, the bangles on her hand and the payals on her feet gives a captivating look. A special ornament called Dejharoo is worn by a Kashmiri bride. It is a pair of gold pendant embellished with stones is connected to a gold chain that goes through her ear piercing.This gives a traditional Kashmiri bride quite an elegant look with the custom ornaments. This Dejharoo resembles a Mangalsutra in other Indian cultures. This traditional wedding attire of a Kashmiri bride gives her a glamorous look.

 

 The wedding day-

After the Kashmiri groom gets ready, the female member of the family touches the groom’s left shoulder with some rice and money. Then he takes his sword and leaves for the bride’s home with the baraat where the bride’s family welcomes him. The conch shells are blown upon their arrival to greet them. The fathers of both the bride and the groom exchange nutmeg as approval of this new relationship.

 

Lagan or the wedding ceremony

 As in every wedding, it also follows strict Vedic rituals. It starts with the mandap puja after which the dwar puja is done. Then the bride is taken to the mandap by her maternal uncle. It is where the couple sees each other for the first time through the mirror under their covered head. The father of the kashmiri pandit bride now places the bride’s hand over the kashmiri groom’s hand which is then covered with the special cloth called athwas. Their heads are tied with mananmal (a golden thread) and all the rituals are performed before the sacred fire and at the auspicious time. They take seven pheras and make seven vows in front of the sacred fire. Now they can start their journey as a kashmiri bride and groom.

 

 

Posh puja

After all the rituals have so far been completed, the bride and the groom sit together with the red cloth placed over their heads. The priests recite the mantras and flowers are showered on them by the guests. By the end, vidaai took place when the bride leaves her own family and is now taken to her new home.

 

Post-wedding rituals-

The bride is welcomed at her home by her in-laws and the mananmal tied on their heads are exchanged by the couple. Then they are served the traditional kashmiri meal and the rituals performed are-

Satraat- The couple pays a visit to the bride’s house where they are showered with gifts, fruits, money, etc and treated with traditional Kashmiri delights.

Phirlath- It is the second visit of the newlywed couple to the bride’s home.

Roth Khabar- A freshly baked cake decorated with nuts called roth is sent to the groom’s house on either Saturday or Tuesday by the bride’s parents.

Ghar Atchum- It is a formal reception organized by a bride’s family for their son-in-law and their relatives. Various Kashmiri delights are served.

 

 

 

 

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