Weddingsin the state of Karnataka are mostly simple affairs, focused mainlyon traditional rituals and less of pomp and show. Kannadigas preferto adhere to age old traditions when it comes to weddings. Therituals vary slightly in different regions and among variouscommunities of Karnataka, but the basic structure of the entire eventremains the same. Kannada weddings are relatively short and sharemany rituals with neighboring states like Maharashtra and AndhraPradesh. Kannada weddings generally take place during the daytime andare comparatively short 1-2 days event. Given below are the weddingrituals of a Kannada wedding.

Pre-weddingRituals

NischayTamulam –During arranged marriage, the horoscope of the prospective bride andgroom are matched. Weddings are fixed only when the starts alignperfectly, predicting a happy and prosperous future. The parentsagree to the match and exchange a plate containing betel leaves andbetel nuts. Nischay Tamulam is the kadda equivalent of an engagementceremony. Parents of the groom visit the bride’s place andoffer her a saree, blouse piece, coconut and sweets. The bride’sparents also visit the groom’s house to gift him dhoti,coconut, fruits and sweets. The date of the marriage is generallydecided by the priest during this event.

Naandi –A few days prior to the wedding, the Naandi ceremony is performed inboth the bride and groom’s places. It is basically a pujaperformed by the family priest to ensure that the wedding ceremonygoes without any hitches or problems. A traditional copper pot orkalash filled with holy water is placed with a coconut on top, andthis marks the beginning of the wedding celebrations. The potsymbolizes a pot of Amrit or the Nectar of Life, and this ceremonyensures that the couple is blessed a life of abundance, health,wisdom, and longevity. The first wedding invitation is presented tothe Almighty during this ceremony so that he will bless the would-becouple with his presence and remove all obstacles from their lifepaths.

KaashiYaatre –This is a really fun-filled ritual when the groom pretends to getangry that no one is searching for a suitable bride for him. Hethreatens his family that he will set out for a pilgrimage to Kashicarrying a walking stick, a dhoti, an umbrella, a fan, and edibleslike a coconut along with some rice. As he is about to leave thehouse, the groom’s maternal uncle stops him and convinces himnot to leave and puts forward the girl that had been chosen for him.Sometimes, it is also customary for the maternal uncle to offer hisdaughter as a suitable bride for the boy. The groom relents onhearing this and decides to come back home to get married to hisbride.

DevKarya –On the day of the wedding, as the groom is leaving the house, heseeks blessings from all the deities by visiting temples in hisneighborhood. The things that are to be used during the wedding areplaced in front of lord Ganesh to seek his blessing and alsosanctifying the objects.
Kannadigasare sticklers to tradition when it comes to the wedding attires. Thegroom dresses up in a white veshti or dhoti worn in typical southIndian style around the waist. It may be a simple cotton one or maybe made of silk, with thin but ornate borders. They pair the veshtiwith a white kurta or sherwani, but during the wedding rituals, thegroom has to wear a white silk scarf matching with his veshti knownas Angavestram. He has to wear a turban like headgear known as Phetaor Pitambar, which may be white or orange in color. The groom carriesa stick in his right hand and the stick needs to be blesses by thepriest in a temple prior to the wedding day. Among the Baligacommunity of Karnataka, the groom wears a Veshti with a matchingValli. He pairs it with a white shirt along with the Pheta.

Thewedding attire of the bride is highly ornamental. She wears atraditional 9 yards long Naavari Saree. They wear green glass banglesalong with the saree and are similar with Maharashtrian bride in thisrespect. The bride wears gold jewelry like Mangtika, several goldnecklaces, jhumka in her ears along with Kamarbandh around her waist.She does her hair in the traditional high bun and plait style anddecorates them with a lot of flowers. In Balija community the bridewears a white saree with brightly colored borders. Kannadiga bridesfrom Coorg region wear brightly colored brocade sarees draped intypical coorgi style. The bride covers her head with a veil.WeddingRituals

GreetingGroom’s Party –The groom and the wedding party is welcomed at the gate of the venuewhere five Sumangalis or married women take their turn to perform anarti of the groom before ushering him in.MandapPuja –Mandap refers to the area where all the rituals of the impendingwedding are to be performed. Before any of that starts, the priestperforms a puja that aims to purify the mandap and the wedding venueas well. This is known as Mandap Puja.

VarPuja –In Hindu traditions, the groom is considered to be the reincarnationof Lord Vishnu. In that respect, he is worshipped by the bride’sparty. He is accompanied to the wedding mandap by his futurefather-in-law and is asked to a seat of prominence. His feet are thenwashed by the bride’s father and a puja is performed in hishonor. He is also presented with a set of silk dhoti and scarf knownas pitambar. He is to take part in the wedding rituals wearing theclothes presented to him by the bride’s parents.

aimala –The bride is then brought to the wedding mandap. Her face remainscovered behind a fan made up of peacock feathers. She is generallyaccompanied by her sister who holds the peacock feather’s fanshielding the bride’s face. Te bride takes her place at themandap and a cloth curtain is placed between the bride and groompreventing them from seeing each other. The priest chants the openingmantras of the wedding rituals and the curtain is gradually removedenabling the couple to lay eyes on each other for the first time. Thebride and the groom then exchange Mala or Flower garlands three times
Dhareherdu –This Kannada custom is akin to the Kanyadaan ceremony in Hinduweddings, but has been modified to become unique for the community.The bride’s right hand is placed on the groom’s righthand and a coconut along with a betel leaf is placed on top of thejoined hands. The bride’s parents shower their blessings andapproval of this union by pouring holy water, preferably from theRiver Ganges known as dhara on top of the couple’s joinedhands.

Saptapadi –A nuptial knot is tied between the ends of the bride and groom’sattires signifying an unfailing bond established between two souls.The couple then circumambulates the sacred fire seven times; thisritual is termed as Saptapadi. Through these circumambulations, thebride follows the groom and together they utter the seven sacred vowsof marriage. After the Saptapadi the couple sits down, with the bridesitting on the groom’s left and the groom ties the mangalsutraaround the bride’s neck assisted by five Sumangalis or marriedwomen. This officially concludes the wedding, and the couple gets upand goes over to seek the blessings from the elders of both families.Post-weddingRituals

Okhli –Post-wedding games are generally played between the members of thetwo families to break the ice between them and especially the newlymarried couple, who might be meeting each other for the first timeduring their wedding as a result of an arranged marriage. Okhli isone such post wedding game played by Kannadigas after the weddingrituals have been completed and the bride and groom are relaxing. Thegroom’s ring is dropped in a vessel containing milk or coloredwater. The bride and her brother have to find the ring from thevessel. Three rounds of the game are played. If the bride issuccessful in finding the ring, then it is implied that she will beable to handle any challenge marital life throws at her in subsequenttimes.

Vidaai –The bride finally bids an emotional and tearful goodbye to her familyand paternal house before setting off for the groom’s house.They send her off to her in-law’s house with gifts that arerequired to set up a new home which includes a cot, cooking utensils,umbrella and sweets. The bride’s brother accompanies her to hernew place. He stays there for the night and departs the next morning.

GrihaPravesh –The bride is generally given a warm ceremonial welcome as she arrivesat her in-laws house. Her mother-in-law performs a welcoming aartiand welcomes her in the house. A vessel filled with rice up to thebrim is placed on the threshold signifying the existing wealth of thehouse. On her way in, the bride is to turn over the vessel with herright foot symbolizing that her arrival has increased the wealth andprosperity of the house manifold resulting in the vessel overflowing.

ClothesPresentation Ceremony –The bride is gifted five sarees by her husband and she is to wear asaree for various post-wedding rituals.

NameChange Ceremony –During this ceremony, the groom decides upon a new name for his newbride and writes the same on a plate of rice with his ring. The brideaccepts the plate of rice from him indicating that she has acceptedher new name.

Visitingthe Bride’s house –The bride’s parents arrive at the groom’s house on thesecond day of marriage and take the newlywed couple to their housewhere the couple is to stay for at least one night before returningback to the groom’s house.

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Reception –A reception is held by the groom’s family with the aim ofintroducing the bride to relatives, friends and near and dear ones.