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A Typical Kashmiri Pandit Marriage

Part 1

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Part 2 of 7

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It was the custom that the Kashmiri Muslim ladies of the neighbourhood come down in the street and follow the groom singing traditional Kashmiri folk in praise of the bridegroom. This folk is called "Vanvun". It will not be out of point to add that their is a little difference in Hindu "Vanvun" and Muslim "Vanvun". This shows the harmony of religion what we called "Kashmiriyat". Even the Muslim elders and ladies in the mohalla used to garland the groom.
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And lo! The groom is on his way to bride's place sitting in car. The "Maharaz car" is followed by the cars and vehicles of the baratis what we call as "Yanivol" in Kashmiri. The car is fully decorated with flowers , buntings and balloons. It should be noted that in "Maharaz car" only small children of the family accompany the groom. I remember, there used to be a traffic jam in the Habba Kadal area on any auspicious day of "Lagan". A lot many "Maharazas" had to wait to give way to others to proceed. It may be noted that if the "Maharaza" had to go to brides place in the same locality, he used to take  a farther route so that the thrill of baratis remain there. Again down memory lane......
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The bridegroom on arrival at the brides place is welcomed first by the elders and then by all members and relatives of the bride's side. He is welcomed by garlands of flowers "Poshmaal" and other types of garland. All the baratis are escorted to the "Saibaan" the decorated tent pitched in the courtyard of the bride's house for this purpose. And of course all the way from the main road to the "Saibaan" coloured sawdust was used to decorate the roads and streets i.e. Kochas. Now after the exodus only "Janjgars" have remained where the marriage can be performed. The scent of performing the marriages in own houses has gone........
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The "Jaimala" custom was not initially in Kashmir. But now due to exodus the community is living out of Kashmir and naturally picking up the local customs too. In fact "Jaimala" custom is old Hindu custom but was not adopted by Kashmiri Pandits. But now virtually no marriage is being performed without this ritual. This custom  of course has added glamour to  the celebrations.
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The bridegroom and the bride sit together on the dias type of platform and relatives and friends come to them and greet them with presents. This custom too was not there initially but after leaving Kashmir this has been adopted from local people. In olden days, a full night before the lagan was spent in decorating the "Saibaan" and especially the place where the groom was to sit called as "Maharaz Jai" . All new and glamorous saris of the woman folk were used for this. There were no professional decorators those days. The bride was brought in the open only on the "Vyug" ceremony. But now they both together sit on a dias. Here the couple is seen being served with tea or milk with sweets.

Uteesh DharPictures and Commentary provided by:  

Uteesh Dhar, Ahmedabad 

 

 

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