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Rajput Wedding Ceremony

The engagement ceremony is organized at the groom's place which is attended only by the bride's father, brother and close relatives. Women are altogether prohibited and not even the bride is allowed to attend her engagement - "tika" - ceremony! The bride's brother makes the alliance official by applying "tilak" to the groom's forehead and by giving him gifts, clothes, sweets and sword. Then a few days before the actual wedding "Griha Shanti" and "Ganpati Sthaapana" are performed wherein either the bride or groom's parents perform a "Havan" to please the Gods and install an idol of Lord Ganesha. Only after the "Sthaapana" do other ceremonies commence.

Then comes the "Pithi Dastoor" during which the bride or groom cannot leave the house. It consists of relatives applying turmeric and sandalwood paste to the bride or groom. The bride is brought under a silken canopy dressed in the traditional Rajasthani dress - orange "poshak" - and is then applied the paste by women. Four ladies belonging to the same clan as the bride hold the canopy at the four corners with the help of swords. At the groom's place too a similar ceremony is performed, but it is less elaborate. The entire time the ceremony is in progress the "Dholnas" - women singers with "dholaks" sing pre-wedding songs.

An integral part of Rajasthani Weddings are "Mehfils" which are usually held in the evenings seperately for the men and the women. At the "ladies' mehfil" the women dressed in dazzling clothes gather in an enclosed courtyard and perform a special dance in group called the "Ghoomar". If being held at the groom's place, only the groom is allowed to attend this otherwise all-women affair. The "gents' mehfil" is again a strictly male affair with the singers performing. Another important ceremony is the "Mahira Dastoor" which is common to both the houses wherein the maternal uncle of the bride or groom along with his entire family is received with much respect and joy by the groom's or bride's mother and given a traditional welcome who in return gifts sweets, jewellery and clothes to the entire family. After this the "Janev Ceremony" is performed only on the groom. He dresses like and ascetic and performs a "havan" before wearing a sacred thread - "janev". 

A typical rajasthani tradition requires the "baraat" to cinsist only male members where the groom dresses in a gold "Achkan" with a "churidar" or "jodhpurs" with "jootis" and the traditional orange turban on which is adorned a piece of jewellery specially meant for the turban called "Serpech". Around his waist is tied a "Cummerband" and a necklace adorns his neck. The members of the "baraat" are also dressed similarly with colorful turbans - "Safas". There is absolutely no dancing and the "baraat" looks regal and royal with the groom and other members carrying swords. The groom usually rides a horse or an elephant. Upon reaching he is received by the bride's mother in the ladies' section who performs the traditional "aarti" and then takes him to the "mandap" for the wedding ceremony. At this point only one married male relative and maybe a younger brother or cousin accompanies the groom to the stage. After "bidaai" before the bride lifts her veil for the groom, a coconut is placed below the wheel of the vehicle in which the couple is seated. The groom then gives some jewellery to his bride.

The "Griha Pravesh" takes place at the groom's residence after the couple return during which the bride wears her veil until all the "pujas" and ceremonies are taking place after which the bride and the groom play a few games. the next day the "Paay Laagan" takes place wherein the the bride in a veil is blessed by all the family members of the groom and is given gifts. The traditional veil is then finally removed and this marks the end of the joyous wedding.

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