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The Hindu Wedding


The Bridegroom arrives for the wedding along with his family and friends in a procession. They are received by the bride’s family and friends.

Commencement of Ceremony:

The priest commences the marriage under a canopy that is specially decorated for the ceremony. The priest invokes blessings of God for the couple to be married.

The bride offers yoghurt and honey to the groom as a token of purity and sweetness. The bride greets the groom by placing a garland around his neck and the groom reciprocates.

Both are congratulated by guests. The priest invokes the memory and blessings of forefathers of the bride and the groom for this auspicious occasion.

Kanya Danam (Giving away of the daughter)

The bride accepts her change of status from an unmarried woman to a wife by spreading turmeric powder on her hands.

Kana Danam is performed by the father (or uncle of guardian) of the bride in presence of a large gathering that is invited to witness the wedding.

The father pours out a libation of sacred water symbolising the giving away of the daughter to the bride groom. The groom recites Vedic hymns to Kama, the God of love, for pure love and blessings.

As a condition for offering his daughter for marriage, the father of the bride requests a promise from the groom for assisting the bride in realising the three ends : dharma, artha, and kama. The groom makes the promise by repeating three times that he will not fail the bride in realising dharma, artha and kama.

Vivaaha (Wedding)

The bride and the bridegroom face each other, and the priest ties their garments (the bride’s sari to the groom’s shirt) in a knot, symbolising the sacred union.

The bride and the bridegroom garland each other and exchange the rings.

Next the nuptial fire, symbolising the divine witness, and the sanctifier of the sacrament, is installed and worshipped.

Both the bride and the groom grasp their hands together and pray to God for His blessings.

Samagree, consisting of crushed sandalwood, herbs, sugar, rice, ghee (clarified butter), and twigs is offered into the sacred fire to seek God’s blessings for the couple.

Paanigrahana or Hasta Milap (Holding the hand)

The bridegroom stands facing west and the bride sits in front of him facing east. He takes her hand and recites Vedic hymns for happiness, long life, and a lifelong relationship.

When the bridegroom takes the bride’s hand he says : “O Sarasvati, gracious one, rich in off spring, you whom we hymn first of all the Gods, may you prosper this marriage.I take your hand.”

Laya (Laja) Homa : The Oblation of Parched Grain

Here the bride offers sacrifice of food (poured into her hands by her brother or someone acting in her brother’s behalf) to the Gods for their blessings. “This grain I spill. May it bring to me well-being and unite you to me. May Agni hear us.”

He then causes the bride to spill the grain into the fire, saying: “This woman scattering grain into the fire, prays: Blessings on my husband. May my relatives be prosperous. ‘Svaha!’ ”

Agni Parinaya : The Significance of the Fire

The bridegroom holds the bride by the hand and both walk three times around the nuptial fire.

Both offer oblations and recite appropriate Vedic hymns to Gods for prosperity, good fortune, and conjugal fidelity.

They touch each others heart and pray for union of their hearts and minds.

While walking around the bridegroom repeats: “First now they bring to you in bridal procession this Surya, guiding her steps in circular motion. Return her now, O Agni, to her husband as rightful wife, with hope of children to come.”

Then the entire rite is repeated twice more, beginning with the rite of the fried grain.

At the fourth round she pours into the re all the fried grain from the mouth of the winnowing basket saying: “To Bhaga svaha!”

Asmaarohana or Shilarohana (Mounting the stone)

At the end of each round of nuptial fire, both the bride and the groom step on a stone and offer a prayer for their mutual love to be firm and steadfast like the stone.

The bridegroom says the words while the bride stands up: “Come, beautiful one.”

And lets her put the tip of the right foot on the stone, saying: “Come, step on the stone; be strong like a stone. Resist the enemies; overcome those who attack you.”

Satapadi (Seven Steps)

This is the most important rite of the entire ceremony. Here the bride and the bridegroom take seven steps together around the nuptial fire (Agni) and make the following seven promises to each other as per the Vedic rituals:

Groom: “With God as our guide, let us take the first step to nourish each other; the second step to grow together in strength; the third step to preserve our wealth; the fourth step to share our joys and sorrows;the fifth step to care for our children; the sixth step to be together forever;the seventh step to remain lifelong friends – the perfect halves to make a perfect whole.”

After the seventh step the Bride says:

“With seven steps we become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me.” The Spatapadi ceremony ceremony concludes with a prayer that the union is indissoluble. At the end of this ceremony, the bridegroom and bride become husband and wife.

In some communities such as Gujarati, instead of seven, only four steps, signifying Artha, Dharma, Kama and Moksha are taken.

Hradayasparsh : Touching the Heart

The bridegroom then comes over bride’s right shoulder touches her heart saying: “I hold your heart in serving fellowship, your mind follows my mind. In my word you rejoice with all your heart. You are joined to me by the Lord of all creatures.”

Mangal Sutra Dharana

The Mangala suthra Dharana is the tying of the thread containing the marks of the Vishnu or Shiva in the neck of the bride by the groom.

Suhaag or Sindhoordana

The groom places sindhoor (red powder) on the bride’s hair symbolising her as a married woman.


The groom’s parents bless the couple and offer cloth or flower to the bride (now their daughter-in-law), symbolising her joining of the groom’s family.

All those assembled shower flowers on the couple and bless them completing the marriage.

These excerpts are adopted from The Hindu Universe ( with permission. The contents are copyright (©)

Good Indian mahurats

Find out the most Auspicious Date/Time/Day for Important Occasions
Mahurat is a moment or time most auspicious for a particular occasion or commencement of an activity, and is calculated on the basis of many variables like nature of concerned activity, horoscope of the person who has to perform the activity, planetary position, lunar day, ‘nakshatra’ during the period it is to be performed.

The significance of a Mahurat
By getting a Mahurat Horoscope made, one ensures that one is not going against natural forces and beginning an auspicious and important task when all cosmic powers are favorable.

Mahurat can be easily termed as ‘Self created short term destiny’, since by commencing an act at an appropriate time, one is ensuring favorable and benefic results from THAT particular activity. So, if Birth Horoscope is like a Bank Passbook which contains details about the balance of fruits of one’s ‘Karma’ in past lives, then Mahurat Horoscope is like making a small deposit in this account.

What Mahurat Horoscope consists of
Mahurat Horoscope involves thorough study of horoscope of the person who has to perform the activity, position of each planet, lunar day, ‘dasa’ periods, ‘nakshatra’ during the period it is to be performed., and calculation of the most auspicious and perfect time periods for the ceremony.

Right Mahurat can be chosen for Marriage, Engagement, ‘Greh Parvesh’ or Inauguration of a new house or Moving into a new residence, Launch of a new business venture/ office premise or any other important occasion.

Information required
For Marriage or Engagement
Particulars of the Bride & the Groom.
For Inauguration of house or Moving into new residence-
Particulars of the Head of the Family.
For Launch of Business or Moving into new Office Premise-
Particulars of the Partners

The Story of Nilamadhava

After the end of the Mahabharata War, Lord Krishna was taking rest under a creeper called Sialilata. The tribesman Jara Sabar was out hunting and accidentally shot Krishna with an arrow, severely wounding Him. When they received this terrible news, the five Pandava brothers quickly arrived on the scene. Lord Krishna gave them some good advice and took away the heavenly power of Krishnakala from Arjuna, the best of archers, and left His material body. The mourning brothers carried their uncle’s body to the Bay of Bengal, and cremated it there (This place is now inside the Jagannath Temple, and is known as Koili Vaikuntha.) The whole body was destroyed, except for the heart, which remained intact and indestructable. The heart was then thrown into the sea.

The heart began to float and cast a brilliant luster on the surface of the water. After a long time, Vishwabasu Sabara, a tribal chieftain noticed the divine effulgence, and took his boat out to find its source. What he found was a blue, stone statue or Parama Vigraha (Super Form). The statue, which was kept at Nila Kandara, became known as Nilamadhava, and was worshipped by chief Vishwabasu there.

The great votary, king Indrayumna of Malava, desired to worship Lord Vishnu. He wished to obtain a most beautiful and sacred deity to install in a new temple, which was being constructed for that very purpose. So, messengers were sent to track down an extraordinary deity of Lord Vishnu. One of them, named Vidyapati, reached Vishwabasu’s village by chance. Seeking a little rest there, he became Vishwabasu’s guest. The family treated him well. Vidyapati fell in love with the chief’s only daughter, Lalita, who was extremely beautiful.

Vidyapati noticed that Vishwabasu went to worship every day at a mysterious impenetrable location upland from the village. Investigating the matter, Vidyapati became convinced the chief was worshopping an extraordinarily beautiful deity of Lord Vishnu. In order to guarantee the success of his mission, Vidyapati married Lalita. He began to question his father-in-law, Vishwabasu, about the chief’s daily outings, and asked to be taken to the secret spot. After much discussion, Vishwabasu finally agreed to take Vidyapati there, on the condition that he be blindfolded. During the journey, Vidyapati marked the trail by dropping mustard seeds that were given to him by Lalita.

When they reached the secret place of worship, Vidyapati became overwhelmed by the beautiful deity, being aware of its unprecedented splendor, peace and sanctity. Within a few days, Vidyapati left the village to return to the kingdom of king Indrayumna. Receiving the good news, the king marched to the once secret spot with his fierce army. But, to everyone’s surprise, there was no deity to be found there. King Indrayumna was very disappointed, and had Bishwabasu imprisoned as he began his empty handed return to the kingdom. After a few days, the king received a divine message making him realise his cruelty toward the tribals, and instructing him to free the tribal chief. He also understood that it was his own cruelty that caused the deity to disappear.

After much devotion, the vanished Nilamadhava consoled king Indrayumna and assured him that He would be available soon, in a different form. After they completed the new temple, the king’s men found an enormous log at the sea shore, which they retrieved for the purpose of fashioning a deity.

Many highly skilled, first class carpenters failed to even scratch the log. Seeing king Indrayumna’s distress, Vishwakarma, the architect of the demigods, descended in the form of an old man to carry out the carving. He desired to make the deity in secret, and asked the king to arrange for musicians to sit outside the closed room and play so that no one could hear what was going on inside. The days came and went. On the twenty first day, curiosity got the better of the queen, who opened the sealed door. She was shocked to find nothing in the room except for four partially carved figures. At that moment, a heavenly voice instructed the king on how to procede, and named the four figures Jagannath, Subhadra, Balarama and Sudarshan. Finally, king Indrayumna prayed to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, to descend and perform the installation ceremony for the dieties.

Thus ends the story of the origin of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, Balarama and Sudarshan.