What Goes in a Hindu Wedding Ceremony?

You might have attended a glamourous Hindu wedding or two, but do you really know what goes behind it? Can you tell a shilarohan from a kanyadaan? Most of us are embarrassingly weak when it comes to knowing the what’s what of a Hindu wedding ceremony, so we’re here to break it down for you. Read on..

1. Kanyadaan

This emotional ritual involves the bride’s father giving her away to the groom as a symbol of prosperity. Within the Hindu wedding, the groom stands for a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, while the bride symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Her entry into the groom’s household is supposed to bring prosperity to his household. Thus, the Kanyadaan is a ritual that encompasses a father’s warmth and good wishes as he gives her away.


Photograph by Pooja Joseph Photography

2. Havan

The ritual of vowing to unite in marriage before a fire is an important one in Hindu weddings. Agni, or the God of Fire, is considered the highest mark of purity. It is thus auspicious that a couple take their vows, as they also sacrifice ghee and dry fruit to the fire as a way of asking for a pure start to their union.


Photography by Hitched & Clicked

3. Shilarohan

The shilarohan is an important step in ensuring the organic unity of the household is maintained on a solid foundation. The bride steps over a small rock as a demonstration of her resolve to overcome any burdens within the household and execute her duties to her best ability.

hindu ceremony

Photograph by Tarun Chawla Photography

4. Gathbandhan

Literally meaning pact, or coalition, the gathbandhan is meant to stand for the sacramental bond between the husband and wife. The ritual of tying a knot between the bride’s pallu and the groom’s scarf is not just a physical act, but a representative of a holy bond of unity. The bride and groom now commence as a single household unit.

gathbandhan - tarun chawla

Photography by Tarun Chawla Photography

5. Saat Phere

Perhaps one of the most important rituals of a Hindu wedding ceremony, the saat phere or seven rounds around the holy fire are undertaken by the bride and groom, taking the God of Fire as witness to their union. Each round symbolises a specific vow the couple undertake for a successful marriage, like vowing to respect and nourish each other.


Photograph by Hitched & Clicked

6. Sindoor Daanam

Sindoor, a bright red powder traditionally made of turmeric, is a symbol of a woman’s married life. From the Mahabharata to the Harappan civilisation, Hindu women draw heavily from legends to use the sindoor to denote their married life. When the groom fills sindoor in the parting of the bride’s hair, it is meant to symbolise a bright red river full of life.


Photograph by CoolBluez Photography

7. Mangalsutra

The mangalsutra, or auspicious thread, is a necklace the groom ties around the bride’s neck as a signifier of her new status as a married woman. It is also worn by women to ensure their husband’s lives are full of vitality and longevity.

mangalsutra - pooja j photo

Photograph by Pooja Joseph Photography

8. Aashirvaad

Once the mangalsutra is tied around the bride’s neck, the couple is considered married. They then proceed to seek blessings from the elders at the ceremony. The aashirvaad is the final step of the wedding ceremony, after which the ceremony is concluded.

ashirwad - shades

Photograph by Shades

Know about the rituals that go in making of a hindu wedding ceremony.


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