Jeelakarra Bellam

Jeelakarra Bellam

Jeelakarra Bellam:

This is a paste made from cumin seeds and jaggery ground together.

When is it used?

It is used during the Teleugu Weddings as a part of the wedding rituals.

How is it performed?

The jeelakarra bellam ceremony is vital in Telugu Weddings. Auspicious time called ‘Sumuhurtham’ would have been fixed for the wedding by the priest. When the time comes, the couple is made to sit opposite to each other. The priest performing the ceremony would recite vedic shlokas. The couple would apply the paste on each other’s head.

Jeelakarra Bellam

Image Courtesy: The Picturist


Cumin seeds have a slightly bitter taste and jaggery has a sweet taste. Both of these are ground together as a paste and they become inseparable. This signifies that the bride and the groom should be together and inseparable throughout the life’s sweet and bitter times. It is believed that, the couple interchange each other’s thoughts and destinies interlinking their lives, by applying the paste on each other’s heads.

This is an important ceremony that marks the wedding. Once this is performed on the sumuhurtham, other rituals could take place in a relaxed manner.




Vatna is a pre-wedding ceremony to cleanse and purify the bride and the groom. This is a ritual in which a paste consisting of turmeric and mustard oil is applied to the bride and groom’s face, hands and legs.

Also called as:

Vatna is also referred to as Batna and Maiyan

When is it performed?

It is a pre-wedding ritual that is performed post the Chuda ceremony.

How is it performed?

During this ritual, four diyas (lamps) are lit and the bride is made to sit in front of them. The lamps would be made to burn continuously as it is considered to be auspicious. The light emitted from the diya reflects on the bride’s face and her face would glow brightly. A colorful rangoli is also laid out in front of the place where the bride would sit. This will be for decorative purpose while bringing good luck too.

Then, cousins and friends (only girls) apply vatna on the bride’s body. This paste is also known as Uptan which adds a natural glow to the skin. The turmeric acts like a scrub making the bride’s body beautiful and radiant.  Moreover, this is believed to purify her.



Image Courtesy: Arjuns Tryst with the camera

In Sikh weddings, this ceremony is performed by applying the paste of turmeric, sandal and rosewater instead of mustard oil. The bride is then cleansed under the shade of Bhag, which is a phulkari worked cotton cloth that is passed through generations.

This is also performed at the bridegroom’s house.

Traditionally, the bride and groom would not leave their homes after this ceremony until their wedding.




Milni is an occasion for all the key men from both the families to meet and embrace each other.

When does it happen:

The baraat is welcomed by the bride’s parents and relatives. This ceremony of receiving the baraat is known as Agwaani. Rose water is sprinkled on the wedding procession which marks the beginning of Milni.

What happens:

This is an important function, where each men from the groom’s family are greeted by the men in the bride’s family. The bride’s relatives are introduced to the groom’s relatives. Usually the priest calls out the names of the relatives from each side to come over and meet each other.

This happens in the order of age, starting from grand parents and ending with brothers. Grand father of the bride greets the grand father of the groom by exchanging garlands, and cash or clothes, which the brides’s family gives as gift to the groom’s relatives. This way all the men are greeted by their peer. Cousins substitute wherever there is a gap.


Image Courtesy: Arjuns Tryst with the camera

In addition, Shabads are sung and the ardaas is recited once the baraat enters the venue or Gurudwara. Breakfast is also served to all the guests from the groom’s side.




Snathakam is a thread ceremony for the Groom before the wedding.

Also called as:


When is it performed:

The ritual is conducted a few hours prior to the wedding.

How is it performed:

Snathakam is a Telugu wedding ritual. This ritual is conducted in all South-Indian weddings with a little variation with respect to their tradition.

This ritual is often referred to as the graduation ceremony, sometimes convocation, which is performed at the groom’s house before the wedding or muhuratam. It is the thread ceremony where the groom wears a silver thread or Yajñopavītam on his body.


Image Courtesy: TejesNayakPhotography

This pre-wedding ritual symbolizes handing over the household responsibilities to the Groom. The boy is prepared to take charge of his new family and execute his responsibilities as a husband, son and father with utmost dedication.

Some communities prefer conducting this ritual at the temples.




Wanwun, the musical session post engagement is an integral part of Kashmiri Weddings.

When it happens?

Wanwun songs are sung post Livun, during Mehendi, Groom’s Dastaarbandi, Arrival of Baraat and departure of the Bride.

What happens?

Post Livun, Sangeet (music) sessions would begin and would be held every evening at the boy and girl’s place. Relatives, friends and neighbors are invited to participate in these sessions. The session is packed with traditional Kashmiri folk and marriage songs called vachuns.

Wanwun will usually be sung by ladies and would not be accompanied by any musical instruments

The song would be a mixture of prayer and blessings, wishing the bride and groom for their well-being.

At the end of each session, the guests are served noon or sheer chai (a salted pink tea).



There is a belief that this style of singing originated from Vedic Age, when prayers and chanting used to be in a similar style, slowly and softly.

Wanwun is considered to be a tool which preserves and carries forward the traditions and cultures of our ancestors.

Both Hindus and Muslims at Kashmir perform this in their own religious style and sing them essentially during marriages.




Livun is a Kashmiri pre-wedding ceremony to traditionally clean the house before wedding on an auspicious day.

What Happens?

As per the Kashmiri calendar which is read by the purohit, Livun takes place on an auspicious day in both the boy and girl’s house, not necessarily on the same day. All the married female members of the family attend Livun.

Decades ago when houses were made of mud, every year or on special occasions, the houses were cleaned and given a fresh coating of mud, which is termed as livun in kashmiri language. The floors of the Kashmiri mud houses were cleaned and treated with a mixture of cow dung, mud and water. These days, this is replaced with cleaning and painting the house.

The bua or pof (father’s sister) prepares var (a special rice pudding) which is distributed among the family, friends, neighbors and relatives. As a token of love and happiness, the parents give the bua cash in return.This preparation takes place separately in the boy’s and girl’s house.

On the day of Livun, the waza (family cook) arrives. Waza will set up an oven made of mud and brick called wuri / war in the backyard of the house using which the traditional meals for the wedding will be prepared. Traditionally, the consumption of meat is forbidden in Kashmiri weddings.




Garba is a form of folk dance which has its roots in Gujarat.

The name Garba is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Garbha’ which means ‘womb’ and ‘deep’ which means ‘lamp’ representing ‘life’. Garba usually takes place either around a lit lamp (garba deep) or an image or statue of Goddess Durga or Shakti.

When is it performed?

  • Garba is usually done during Gujarati weddings, baby showers etc.
  • Traditionally, Garba is performed on Navaratri which means nine nights in Gujarati.
  • At times, special occasions at home are also graced by Garba.
  • Gujarati Muslims perform Garba during Eid.

What happens?

A bright colored Chanya or Ghagra Choli along with a Bandhani dupatta all decked with mirrors (Abla) and thick borders forms the Garba costume for girls and women. The Ghagra Choli is draped or worn in the traditional Gujarati way. Sparkling, colored bangles (kadas), heavy anklets (janjhars), designer waist belts (kandoro), jazzy earrings and bajubandh are the types of jewellery worn during this occasion. Whereas the boys and men wear Kafni Pyjamas with a short round colorful Kurta (kediyu) above the knees and a matching turban (pagadi) on the head with a bright Bandhini dupatta, kada and mojiris.

Garba is performed in a circular style which symbolizes the life cycle of birth, death and re-birth. The dancers form a circle and move in cycles in different rings. In the middle of the ring or circle a lamp or Goddess Durga or Shakti is placed. Basically, the dance relates to the never ending movement of Universe revolving around God.

Basically, there are two types of Garba. The first type involves clapping with dance. The dance gets faster with fast music known as Raas. The second uses sticks called Dandiya.

The various forms of this Gujarati folk are Dandiya Raas, Garbi, Heench, Taali and Dodhiyu. The style of dance varies with place and tradition.


A few texts describes that, during the age of Lord Krishna and Radha, they used to dance Garba to express their love for each other. Garba songs usually include topics of Lord Krishna or the nine goddesses. The modern Garba also includes non-devotional songs. The most popular one being, Sanedo.

Garba usually attracts the young crowd majorly from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Garba has gained popularity internationally, as its celebrated in UK, Canada and Toronto as well.




Sthaalipaakam is a Telugu wedding ceremony during which the bride gets her feet adorned with a silver toe-ring.


Image Courtesy: Pranav’s Photography

How is it performed?

During this post-wedding ritual, the groom adorns the feet of the bride with silver toe rings. The groom would bend to reach the bride’s feet for Sthaalipaakam symbolizing his claim and acceptance towards the bride.

The bride is also adorned with a string of black beads to ward-off the evil eye or bad luck, if any. The beads along with the silver toe rings is a symbol of her being married.




Kasamdry – one of the many elaborate rituals of a Kashmiri Pandit wedding, is a sacramental commitment between the families of the bride and the groom to upheld their promise of the holy alliance.

How it happens?

As per the Kashmiri calendar, the pundit fixes an auspicious date and time for both the families to meet in a temple as this ceremony takes place in front of an idol. In the temple, the elders exchange flowers as a sign of happiness and celebration of marriage.


Image Courtesy: Arjuns Tryst with the camera

After the gathering in the temple, the bride’s family arranges for a traditional and authentic Kashmiri cuisine for all attending the ceremony.

The eldest aunt prepares var (a special rice pudding) which is distributed among the family, friends, neighbors and relatives. This preparation takes place separately in the boy’s and girl’s house.

Traditionally post var, the girl’s family sends cash, fruits, dry fruits and a pot of nabad (lumps of sugar) to the groom’s place. Off late, the couple meet in a temple or at the groom’s house and exchange rings.

The families of the boy and girl invite their friends and relatives to their respective houses.

The groom’s maidservant goes to the bride’s house with a silver cup of cream, a ring, a pheran, tarang (the traditional turban), sacred thread and sindoor. The maid feeds the cream to the bride with a silver spoon and gives the clothes that she is supposed to dress up with for the ceremony. A similar ceremony takes place at the groom’s house too. The bride’s sister-in-law or brother-in-law go to the groom’s house for the ceremony.

A musical evening is planned separately in both the houses where traditional Kashmiri wedding songs called Wanvun are sung. Nowadays, a little bit of dance is also a part of the show.




Sree is a mound of rice powder in the baron dala, symbolizing Goddess Lakshmi.


It is an integral part of the baron dala and is used while welcoming the bride and the groom post-wedding.


Image Courtesy: Sanjukta Basu | Photography

When is it made?

Sree is made by the women in the Bride’s family, a day before the wedding.

What is it made of?

Auspicious things like turmeric, sindoor (vermilion), mustard oil is used along with the rice powder to make the dough and it is shaped like a pointing mount.


Sree is considered as Goddess Lakshmi and her blessings are sought to make the marriage a successful one.

Role of rice in Bengali weddings is vital and it is used in the almost all the rituals. So, rice is used while preparing it as well.