The married women from the bride and groom family are invited to greet the couple and whisper in the bride’s right ear their blessings and good wishes of a blissful married life, prosperity and happiness.
The priest offers blessings to the bride and groom by reciting some Vedic mantras. The newly wedded couple then seeks blessings from the priest, their parents, relatives and friends for a happy married life together.
Kansar is an exchange of sweets between the couple as a promise of fidelity and a symbolic gesture that they will provide for each other’s needs in their household life.
Similar to the concept of the English wedding ring, the groom places a golden necklace with black beads around the bride’s neck, signifying his love, integrity and respect for her. The Mangal Sutra also represents the couple’s love and sacred union.
The groom places sindhoor (red vermillion powder) on thye bride’s forehead and at the parting of her hair as a symbol of a married woman.
This vital part of the ceremony is where the couple takes seven steps to symbolise the beginning of their journey together for life. The couple takes a vow at the beginning of each step as they receive blessings from the priest and everyone present. Through these vows, the bride and groom seek each other’s support to make their married life a successful and happy one.
The couple circle the holy fire four times as the priest chants mantras. They stop each time for the bride to touch with her toe a stone that symbolises the strength of her devotion and commitment to her husband. At the end each fera (circles), the open palms of the bride are filled with grains by her brother signifying wealth and prosperity. The four feras represent the four basic goals of a life: Dharma (moral sense to lead a good life), Artha (prosperity), Kama (energy and passion) and Moksha (Liberation through self-realization).
A small sacred fire is lit in the center of the Mandap inviting Agni, the Fire God, to be the chief witness of the union. The couple offers prayers to Agni who is the symbol of light, power and purity while offering ghee (Purified butter), rice and flowers into the flame. These prayers have a special importance, for it is Agni who dispels the darkness and ignorance from our lives and leads us to eternal light and knowledge.
The groom’s scarf or shawl is tied to the bride’s saree while chanting prayers to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, and to Lord Narayan and Laxmi Devi praying for a strong marriage like theirs. The knot symbolises the union of two souls joined together in holy matrimony. The parents of both the bride and the groom then places a long sacred cotton thread called Varmala around both the bride and groom bonding them spiritually.
This ceremony is performed by the bride’s parents where they give away their daughter in marriage by placing the bride’s right hand on the groom’s right hand while the priest chants the verses. The bride’s parents pray that their son-in-law will look after their daughter.