MARWARI WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

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The terms Marwari, Jain and Maheshwari, may look alike and confuse most people, thus in this article, we have tried to encapsulate the similarities and differences in their cultures and history. I hope this article will help readers differentiate between the various cultures which are so different yet share such wonderful patterns in customs, beliefs and culture.

The Marwari, Jain and Maheshwari cultures may differ from each other by minute amounts. Still together, they all show the strong culture, beliefs, and rituals they follow and have been following since their emergence. Just like any other community, the weddings of this community are worth capturing, primarily because of the wonderfully planned lavish marriages and the various rituals they follow.

WHO ARE THE MARWARIS, WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?

The Marwaris are an Indian ethnic group that has their origin in the desert regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. They are known for their bravery and hands in trade. This ethnic group owes their origin to the former princely state of Marwar, now known as Jodhpur, in Rajasthan. 

However, the term ‘Marwari’ is also widely used to address people of some castes that fall within the Bania community. The most prominent of all Bania community are the Agrawal’s, Khandelwal, Maheshwari’s, and Oswals. Today, Marwari is used to encapsulate people from both the castes of Hindus and Jains.

Traditionally, their profession is trading, and, throughout hundreds of years, they have been one of the most successful business communities in India. Marwari traders are historically migratory in habit; initially, they were inland traders during the era of Rajput kingdoms, and later as industries grew, they entered in investing, industrial production, and other sectors. 

Today, they are in charge of several influential and established news media groups in the country. Although they are of Rajasthan origin and are also known as the Rajput, today, they are spread throughout India. They have been most concentrated in parts of central and eastern India like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Nagpur.

Marwaris are people who usually have an excellent quality of getting mixed with locals of wherever they land up for doing business. Although historically, their native language is known to be Marwari, they also have a great quality of learning local languages as well, even with an accent like native speakers. 

Marwari people are mostly business-minded but are equally talented and hard–working when it comes to administrative services. There are many names that we know already which are Marwari controlled businesses and today rules the country like Rakesh  Jhunjhunuwala, Ramdev  Agarwal, Birla, Bajaj, and so on. 

WHY ARE MARWARI WEDDINGS IN INDIA SO OVERHYPED?

Marwari weddings in India are precisely overhyped because of their diverse and rich Marwari culture and the lavish and extravagant weddings they have been celebrating since their time of existence. Marwari marriages in India fall under one of the most expensive wedding celebrations in the country with a huge platter of relatives, guests, and equally enormous count of ceremonies, rituals, offerings, and traditions.  

All these make Marwari weddings the most exciting weddings in the country. It is said that they have the most number of rituals, rules, and traditions that are followed in their marriages and such colossal number of ceremonies are found in weddings of no other communities in India. This draws vast expenses for a Marwari wedding.

Another prominent reason for Marwari weddings being much overhyped is that the Marwaris are known for their communal bonds and joint families. This makes any wedding function in their community very special and is attended by massive crowd of relatives and guests – just like a family get together. 

In light of this context, it is also true that Marwari weddings are accompanied by much give and take of materials, money and gifts as blessings and wishes from the guests, most of which can be assigned ‘expensive’ tag.  Such colossal gathering of relatives and family members does make Marwari weddings much more exciting and warm in comparison to other community marriages.

Also, as said earlier, Marwari marriages are associated with probably the largest number of rituals, ceremonies, traditions, and customs that take place involving several days, even months. Such a massive list of celebrations cannot be witnessed in weddings of other communities. This makes Marwari weddings overhyped among different communities and castes too. Their colourful ceremonies, customs, and rituals are evidence of their rich and vibrant culture.

TRADITIONAL RAJASTHANI MARWARI WEDDING RITUALS/CUSTOMS LIST

Sagai:

Sagai refers to the Marwari engagement ceremony, the Marwari version of the English Ring Ceremony. The would-be couple exchange rings. The families then exchange gifts and decide on the wedding date.

Ganpati Sthapna and Griha Shanti Ceremony:

No auspicious event is organized as per the Hindu traditions without invoking the Gods. Hindu tradition believes it a mandatory event to invoke Lord Ganesh, the Elephant before starting any holy ceremony, especially something as big and important as a wedding ceremony. This ritual is usually held around two days before the wedding. The families perform a havan and offer prayers to the mighty Lord Ganesha, asking for his blessings on the couple.

Pithi Dastoor:

This ritual resembles the popularly celebrated Haldi ceremony. In this ritual, turmeric and sandalwood paste is applied to the bride and groom as a Shagun for performing the upcoming ceremonies. After this, the to–be wed couple are not allowed to leave the house until the wedding day to keep them away from all sorts of negativities around them.

Mahira Dastoor:

This ceremony is believed to be very important among the Marwari and is marked by offering gifts by the maternal relatives of the bride and groom to the couple like clothes, jewellery, etc.

Mehfils:

In this Marwari Wedding ritual, separate ‘ladies mehfil’ and ‘gent’s mehfil’ are arranged. Dancers and relatives wear stunning dresses, the bride is ceremonially ushered, she is seated on a special seat, and a traditional dance called Ghoomar is performed by the folk dancers. This ceremony commemorates the love between the bride and the groom.

Janev:

In this Marwari Agarwal wedding ritual, the groom performs a havan wearing a saffron robe. Next to the fire ritual, he wears a sacred thread called janev. This ritual is equally important as it draws blessings from the Lords before starting with the marriage rituals.

Palla Dastoor:

Palla Dastoor is celebrated a day before the wedding day where the groom’s relatives bring gifts for the bride to her house like clothes, jewellery, accessories, outfits, etc that she is supposed to wear on the wedding day. This also includes the bridal jewelry set. 

MARWARI AGGARWAL WEDDING RITUALS

Rajput Baraat:

Similar to baraats of other religions, castes, and communities, the groom dresses up in royal outfits and proceeds or enters the wedding venue mounted on a horse or elephant accompanied by the wedding procession. Cars are also used nowadays. Traditionally, the groom is seen holding a sword in hand adorned by a thread sewed with currency notes.

Aarti:

As the groom steps on the marriage venue, the bride’s mother greets him with a warm welcome by performing an aarti. 

Jaimala:

 After the aarti, the groom is carried where the bride resides, keeping her face covered under a veil. The bride and the groom exchange flower garlands popularly called as varmaala or jaimala, and then proceed to the mandap.

Granthi Bandhan:

Either the priest or the groom’s sister ties the bride’s dupatta/chunni to the groom’s shawl. This is called the ritual of Granthi Bandhan that symbolizes an eternal knot or bond.

Panigrahan:

In this practice, the groom and the bride exchanges vow to be with each other through tough and good times by uniting their hands together.

Feras:

The bride and groom take a total of seven rounds around the holy pyre as the priest continues chanting mantras. In Marwari culture, four pheras are made in the mandap where the groom leads in two, and the bride leads in the other two. Later, they take three more pheras at the entrance. The pheras symbolizes their prayers for food, nourishment, strength, prosperity, progeny, health, and family. A Hindu marriage is only considered to be completed when the couple takes a total of seven pheras keeping the holy pyre as a witness.

Ashwahrohan or Sindoor daan:

According to the Marwari culture, the bride put her feet on a grinding stone as a symbol of steadfastness, after which, her brother gives puffed rice in her hands which she passes on to the groom, who puts it in the holy pyre. The groom then fills the bride’s forehead with sindoor.

MARWARI POST – WEDDING RITUALS

Bidai:

Bidai is the emotional goodbye from the bride to her parents as she departs to her in-laws. A coconut is placed beneath the wheel of the car before they start.

Grihapravesh:

As a tradition, as the newly married couple arrives on the doorsteps of the groom’s house, rice balls mixed with curd or sometimes, a piece of bhakri (a kind of Indian bread) is waved over the newly-wed couple to cast off an evil eye on them. Next, the bride is required to enter the groom’s home by toppling a bowl of rice grains placed at the entrance of the main door with her right foot. Lakshmi-puja is also performed where the bride is given a new name. 

Pagelagni:

This is celebrated after Griha Pravesh. The bride is introduced to the groom’s family members, and she receives gifts and blessings from them. Various ice-breaking customary games are played between the bride and the groom to make the bride comfortable in the house.

DIFFERENCE IN WEDDING RITUALS BETWEEN MARWARI BRAHMIN, JAIN AND MAHESHWARI

There’s not much difference between Marwari Brahmin and Marwari Jain wedding rituals with some minor changes. It is to be noted that Marwari Brahmin weddings

involved much more number of ceremonies and days as compared to Jain weddings. Also, Jains usually determine the day of marriage on an auspicious day as depicted by the priest. 

This day can be different from the engagement day also. However, among the Marwari Brahmins, the engagement day itself serves as a day for determining the wedding day. All decisions regarding the wedding day date and destination are finalized on the engagement day. Also, after the marriage is over, Jains usually visit a Jain temple and offer prayers and offerings which are not seen in the Marwari Brahmin caste.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the Jain rituals of wedding:

1) Khol Barana – it is celebrated as a mark or inauguration of Jain weddings. It involves gifting the bride with a silver plate from the groom’s family along with a coconut and some cash as good luck. The groom’s family travels to the bride’s family to celebrate this ceremony along with the Tikka ceremony.

2) Lagna lekhan – to determine the shubh mohurat or an auspicious date for the wedding by consulting the Almanacs or kundlis of the to-be-wed couple.

3) Lagna Patrika Vachan – the bride’s family sends out a formal invitation informing them about the date of the wedding that was determined.

4) Sagai – Sagai is celebrated similarly to the Marwari Brahmins celebrate Sagai or engagement. 

5) Mehendi – Usually, this is not celebrated separately by the Marwari Brahmins in their weddings. Mehendi ceremony is more of a homely affair, celebrated 2-3 days before the wedding day, where women of the family come together to apply Mehendi on the bride’s hands

6)Bana Betai – Haldi or Bana Betai, as called as by the Jains, is celebrated in the morning of the wedding day where close friends and families put haldi or turmeric on both the bride and the groom to make sure they have a flawless look during the wedding, and also to protect them from any bruises or cuts.

7) Mada Mandapa – the ceremony where the mandapa is sanctified before the wedding starts.

8) Ghudchadi – it is also a Jain – specific custom where the females of the groom’s house apply tilak on his forehead before he starts his baarati journey.

9) Baraat – as the name suggests, it is same as the Marwari baarat tradition, where the groom proceeds towards the wedding venue on a horse or a carriage, maybe a vehicle. The bride’s mother welcomes him with a traditional song and a tilak.

10) Kanyavaran - The bride’s family gives away their daughter’s hands to the groom with a rupee and a quarter along with some rice. The groom takes her hand as the pandit or priest chants the mantras.

11) Granthi – Bandhan – Same as that celebrated by the Marwari Brahmins, the knot is tied between garments of the couple, symbolizing an eternal knot or bond.

12) Pheras – The couple takes the seven rounds around the holy fire. On the contrary to the Marwari custom, the couple completes all seven rounds around the fire itself, and no pheras are taken at the entrance door.

13) Bidaai – Bidai is to celebrate the auspicious yet emotional farewell of the bride from her family.

14) Sva Graha Agamana – this is a very unique custom followed by the Jains where, after welcoming the new bride, the Jains offer their prayers and offerings in a Jain temple, and distribute alms to the poor. 

15) Reception – Reception is celebrated after a day where friends and families come to bless the newly-wed couple.

On the other hand, if we look at the Maheshwari, popularly called as Banias of Rajasthan, their wedding rituals strike a sharp difference between the Marwari Brahmin rituals. The rituals followed by the Maheshwari’s are described below in details:

1) Byah Haath – takes place in the respective houses of the groom and the bride and their friends and families come to bless them. The women make traditional sweets out of jaggery and sing songs, also called as ‘Mangal Geet’ in Rajasthan.  

2) Bhaat Nyotana – Mostly, gifts are made ready by wrapping them in cellophane and also, the bride’s mother invites her maternal uncle’s family for her wedding and engagement.

3) Nandi Ganesh Puja – is celebrated similarly to the Marawari’s Ganesh Puja.

4) Raatri Jaga – an event where swastika or other holy symbols are hand-drawn on walls or wooden furniture to cast off evil eye before the ceremonies

5) Engagement ceremony – celebrated similarly to the Sagai in the Marwari and Jain customs.

6) Sangeet – this is similar to the Mehfil celebrated by the Marwaris where songs are sung, and folk people perform dances. 

7) Mehendi – women of the family, apply Mehendi on the bride’s hands to adorn her for her wedding day

8) Thamb Puja – The families hold Thamb Puja on the morning of the wedding day where they perform puja on the pillars of their houses. This is done by the priest of the grooms’ side and is performed in the bride’s house.

9) Telbaan – It is similar to the Haldi ceremony celebrated by the other communities.

10) Havan – the holy ritual is performed by both the families.

11) Gharva – Next, the groom’s family sends clothes, jewellery and other offerings which are used by the bride’s family to perform puja on Goddess Parvati.

12Korath – The bride’s father and family set out with their priest for the groom’s family to invite them to the wedding venue.

13) Nikasi – a special ritual that is performed using a mare.

14) Varmaala – The varmaala ritual is performed where the couple exchanges varmaala.

The next rituals followed are similar to described above and they are – Gath Bandhan, Kanyadaan, Panigrahan, Pheras, Sindoor Dan. 

7 BIGGEST PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES IN AN INDIAN MARWARI MARRIAGE 

Indian marriages are a diversified affair with tons of different customs and rituals being followed by different communities. Nevertheless, every ceremony has its speciality and needs to be captured as marriage is a red date for any couple. So, you can always hire a photographer for all your wedding-related rituals but here is a list of some of the most popular and universally followed rituals by all communities alike which you cannot miss to capture:

  1. Haldi – Haldi ceremony can be the brightest photo opportunity for getting candid shots incomparable to any other ceremony. The emotions when close friends and families are applying haldi on the bride and groom are worth capturing. Haldi is a very enthusiastic and emotional ceremony celebrated in most Indian weddings. 

From water showers to colour and flower showers, Haldi is a super exciting photography opportunity for photographers and the couples alike. If you want to take candid shots of yours on your wedding, Haldi is one of the best opportunities you can get your hands on. You can tell your photographer to look out for some fun and emotional moments when you as a couple or you individually are enjoying the ceremony with your near and dear ones. 

 

Haldi pictures are the true essence of unbound love, and pure joy and such pictures get all the more glorified when topped by colourful flowers. Nowadays, water or color showers are also included in Haldi where the guests enjoy a short spectrum of the Holi festival. On the whole, Haldi is excellent if you want to fill up your album with colorful candid pictures.

2) Mehfil and Mehendi – Mehfil and Mehendi are all about celebration, merriment, dance, joy, and songs. Close relatives and friends from both the sides - the bride and groom gather at a chosen venue, typically the bride’s home, and celebrate the ceremony of Mehendi and Mehfil which is also called as Sangeet. 

The women traditionally perform Ghoomar, folk dance at the Mehfil. But today, the dancing is not only limited to traditional folk numbers, and modern weddings have many times witnessed DJs turn the celebration into a fun event for all the family members. So, Mehfil or Sangeet can be an exceellent opportunity to capture the joy, enthusiasm and especially the dance moves of the family members, which remains as a pleasant memory forever.  

As a bride, you can also try out new poses with your Mehendi either alone or with your siblings and bridesmaids. Mehendi is thus a huge opportunity to capture the beautiful designs on the bride’s hands, especially when it is being made. If you are unsure of what Mehendi poses you could try, you can surf up the web to gather some inspiration.

  1. Sagai – Sagai is also a special day for both the bride and groom and their respective families. Most families start the ring ceremony with Ganesh Puja, which indeed, is a vast photo opportunity for anyone. Sagai is also associated with the exchange of colossal platter of gifts between the two families so, it is an extraordinary occasion to capture.

 Also, it is the day where the bride’s mother puts a tilak on the groom’s forehead which is yet another emotional moment worth capturing that will showcase the bond between not only the couple but also the families. As the famous proverb says, besides two souls, the wedding is also the union between two families. 

4) Baarat – Marwari or Jain baarat is accompanied by much enjoyment and fun moments when the groom and groomsmen arrive at the wedding venue in a mood of celebration. Marwari weddings traditionally require the groom to mount on a horse or an elephant as baarati although he may also arrive in a car, as happens nowadays. 

You can also spot the groom wearing a maala or thread sewed with currency notes as he arrives with a sword in a celebrating mood. Thus, baarati can be a great opportunity for capturing some enthusiastic and fun shots as well. Typically, baarati also involves dance and singing by even the most important and elderly members of the family. 

What can be better than capturing the cool dance moves of the groom’s or bride’s grandma or grandpa? These are the memories that they will cherish throughout their lives and narrate stories to their progeny.

5) Wedding Ceremony – The wedding ceremony can be said to encapsulate important events such as pheras, kanyadaan, varmaala and sindoor daan and it is absolutely necessary to capture these moments not only for legal matters but also to keep them in the wedding album as a memory that the couple and their families cherishes forever. 

You can talk to your photographer to take specific shots if you have any requirement other than the shots that the photographer shall already take. Also, low angle shots when the pheras are going on and top angle shots during sindoor daan look classy. Many people like to capture their wedding gifts, jewellery, and outfits that they wear on their wedding day. Also, photo shoots under sky lanterns are also in trend. 

6) Vidaai – Vidaai pictures in turn captures the emotions hidden behind a marriage, the emotions that are shared by the bride and her own family and those of her new one. 

7) Griha Pravesh – Griha Pravesh is often celebrated along with Laxmi Puja which is yet another splendid event to keep in a wedding album. Also, the ritual of the bride entering the new house by toppling the tumbler full of rice grains thus radiating the presence of Lord Laxmi in her is worth capturing.

Conclusion

Every ritual has its own essence and needs an equally special place in the wedding album, but these are some of the bigger and more important events that are an absolute mandate to be framed. We hope you enjoyed reading this article.

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