Please read my post on the components of the Hindu marriage.
Link provided towards the end of the post.
On the wedding day,after Vigneswara Puja, Vratham is performed.
The wedding ceremonies start with the Vratham that is observed separately by the groom and the bride.
The Vratha is a ceremony where a vow is taken to go through the marriage and is performed by the Bridegroom
The marriage ceremonies begin with the Vratham performed separately by the bride and the groom. For the bride, it means the tying of the KAPPU – the holy thread on her wrist which is meant to ward off all evil spirits. It symbolises a kind of the protective armour for the bride. For the groom, the various Gods – Indra, Soma, Chandra, Agni. From there on, the groom prepares himself for a new chapter in his life as a householder or Grihasta. The days of his bachelorhood or brahmacharya are now over and the acceptance of this is all what the Vratham is about.
In this ceremony, a cotton thread (applied with Turmeric powder) is tied to the wrist of the Bride and groom, indicating the vow to get married and declaring that they would not be deterred from the wedding ceremony and it is removed a couple of days after the wedding.
“the important ceremony called
kankana \ For this purpose they obtain two pieces of
saffron or turmeric, round which they tie a double thread.
They place on a metal dish two handfuls of rice, and on
this rice a cocoanut painted yellow, and on the cocoanut
the two pieces of saffron. Prayers are offered to all the
gods collectively, who are implored to come and place
themselves on this kankana, and to remain there till the
five days of the marriage ceremony have been accomplished.
The bridegroom then takes one of the pieces of saffron and
ties it on his wife’s left wrist, who in her turn ties the
other piece on his right wrist. The rice and cocoanut on
which the kankana has been lying are then given to the
Then follows the procession of the tutelary deity. The
mother of the bride, accompanied by the other women
and the Brahmins who are present, go and fetch the copper
vase which represents the ishta-devata. The women begin
to sing and the musicians to play, and forming a procession
they march to the end of the street, where, after choosing
a clean spot, they pour out some of the water contained in
the vase. They do puja to the deity while it rests on the
ground, and then it is taken back with the same pomp to
the place whence it came. Then follows the most important
1 The ceremony is actually called kankana-dharana, that is, the tying
or wearing of the kankana.
This is performed to propitiate the Ancestors nd the Nadi Devatas.
After the completion of Ganesh Puja on the wedding day, several other Gods are worshipped. These Gods are known as Nandi Devatas.
Who are Nandi Devatas?
The Nandi Devatas are the holy Pitris, who live in the lokas of Bhuvash and Suvah. They are the builders of the subtle bodies, Sukshmadeha, around which physical atoms aggregate to produce the physical body. As the objects of marriage are the maintenance of the Grihastha Dharma and the begetting of progeny with spiritual, not carnal tendencies, the co-operation of the PitriDevatas is essential.
To propitiate the Nandi Devatas, a leaf-laden branch of the pipal tree is set up. Five Sumangalis (married women) would then wash the installed branch with milk. The ritual is followed by gifting clothes to the bride and the groom. Generally, the bride is presented a saree while a traditional dhoti is gifted to the groom as part of the auspiciousness.
These PitriDevatas are not beings to be trifled with, and they are beings who generally avoid the physical plane of the Universe, the Bhurloka, and they should be sent away from the physical world as soon as the business for which they are invited is over. Nor are they to be invited frequently.
In an ideal Nandi Srardha, 12 Brahmins are invited, Dhotis and Angavastras are ditributed, their feet washed amidst the chsning of the Srardha Mantras.
In Hinduism a Man has Four Stations in Life,
Brahmacharya, the Ceibate,
The Grihastha, The Married,
The Vanaprastha, the detachment state, and
The Sanyasin, The Renounced State.
Boys aged 5 are anointed with Upanayana(read my post on this ceremony) and sent to a Guru for the Adhyayana or the repeated learning of the Vedas.
When they reach the age of 13 they are married.
Now the marriageable age has changed.
When the boy comes of age for Marriage,after the Vratham, Kankana Dharanam and Nandi, the Boy goes to Kasi(Benares, Varanasi ,the Holy City of The Hindus, to meditate on the Brahman, The Reality.(Symbolically)
The bride’s father intervenes and requests the Bridegroom not to undertake the trip,become a Grihastha as Grihathaasrama is the fundamental Stage of Dharma or the Path of Righteousness, and offers his daughter in Marriage , promising that she will be his soul mate in performing the Vediac rituals that would guarantee spiritual enlightenment.
This is Kasi Yatra.
Now comes the muhurta, that is to say, the most essential
ceremony of the marriage. To begin with, a sacrifice is
offered to Vigneshwara. The bride and bridegroom are
seated on the earthen dais, their faces towards the east,
and the married women proceed, singing the while, with
the young people’s toilette, which is of the most elegant
and sumptuous description. When attired the bridegroom
rises, performs the sam-kalpa, prays to the gods to pardon
all the sins he has committed since he received the triple
cord ; and, to be the more sure of this pardon, he recites
a mantram, and gives fifteen fanams to a Brahmin as alms.
He then dresses himself up as a pilgrim, and makes all
preparations as if he were really going to take a long
journey, announcing that he is going to start on a holy
222 THE KAXKAXA CEREMONY
pilgrimage to Kasi, that is Benares. He leaves the house
accompanied by the married women singing in chorus, and
by his parents and friends, and preceded by instruments of
music. After passing the outskirts of the village he turns
his steps to the east.
But here his future father-in-law meets him, and asks
him where he is going, and on learning the object of his
journey, begs him to give it up. He tells him that he has
a young virgin daughter, and that if he wishes it he will
give her to him in wedlock. The pilgrim accepts the pro-
posal with joy, and returns with his escort to the place
whence he set out. On his return the women perform the
ceremony of the aratti.