Saptapadi :

Having 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.

A 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. The groom agrees to this and "bribes" the brother with some gift or cash.

 

 

Lajja Home :

The 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 worshiped the fire, which will never make her break loving ties with her in-laws.

 

Lagna Muhurt

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 paat 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 mango 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 pedha.

 

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 and the couple seek blessings of the elders.

Then the bride asks for a promise from the groom that he will never violate his limits in Dharma, Artha and Kama. The bride promises the groom that she will always be by his side.

The couple ties on each other's hand a halkund with a thread and this is called kankan bandhane.

 

Gaurihar Puja

The bride attired in a yellow sari (Ashtaputali) given by her maternal uncle (Mama), with shela on top and mundavalya (decorative strings of pearls, beads, flowers) tied on the forehead apart from other jewellery is ready to get married. She sits on a paat 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. Mantra recited by bride "गौरी गौरी आयतण दे, दारी आलेल्या पाहुण्याला दीर्घायुष्य दे ".

 

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