7. Procession (‘Baaraat’/ ‘Ooregimpu’): On the day of wedding, the groom, his family and all their relatives travel to the wedding location. There will be a procession from a selected nearby location to the wedding location. The groom sits on a white horse and the bride sits in a palanquin. As per the interest of both the families, the processions might be one after the other or together. The relatives and friends dance to the tunes of a musical band, expressing their joy for the wedding.
8. Welcome Ceremony (Edurukolu): The groom, his family and relatives are welcomed by the hosts – bride’s parents. Groom’s side people will be made sit, will be offered snacks, beverages. Two pots of Jaggery water will be offered to the groom’s sister and the same jaggery water will be given to them to drink. Both the families will exchange gifts to express happiness and joy.
9. Vara Puja: The Groom is worshipped as Lord Vishnu by washing his feet, offering garland, sandalwood paste, Tilak, Perfume etc. A gold ring, chain are offered as gift (as per the wish by bride’s parents). Bride’s parents offer a silver Thread to the groom to wear across chest from the left shoulder.
10. Naandi Devatha Puja: Naandi means prologue. This is the first step of wedding hence is done to seek the blessings of the Pithrus. The bride and groom to have a Prosperous life, happy marital life, to have healthy children. To invite Pitru Devatha, a mantra is recited by Purohits. There will be a band team playing instruments throughout the wedding. Out of them a drummer is called for this particular puja, he beats the drum at required times of mantra. At the same time the bride’s father is asked to beat a vessel with a spoon to make loud sound. This is a very important religious event to start the wedding process.
11. Ankurarpana: Bride’s parents along with bride will do Lord Ganesh puja, and with the help of Purohit, fill 5 earthen pots with soil and Navadhanya (9 types of grains). These pots also are worshipped and kept aside for post wedding 16th day function.
12. Gouri Puja: The bride will perform puja of Goddess Gouri (Consort of Lord Shiva) for the lifsetime happiness and prosperity after marriage. While bride is doing Gouri Puja, the groom will be made perform Lord Ganesh puja on the Dais.
13. Kanyadan: Immediately after Gouri Puja, the bride will be made sit in a big basket and will be raised by her maternal uncles.
The bride in the basket will be taken to the dais.
Prior Kanyadan, the bride’s father takes ‘sankalp’ (determination) that he will give away his daughter to the groom. This goes with a Sanskrit phrase –
‘सालन्कृत कन्यादानम् अहं करिष्ये’ – ‘I shall give away the fully decorated girl’
There will be a curtain put in between bride and groom, while the bride is given as ‘Kanya-daan’ (daan-giving away, kanya-the girl) by her parents to the groom. This is done with auspicious mantras.
Bride’s father says ‘तुभ्यमहं संप्रददे’ – I am giving away to you.
The bridegroom says ‘देवस्य त्वा सवितुः प्रसवेश्विनोर्भाहुभ्यां पूष्णोहस्ताभ्यां प्रतिगृह्णामि |’ and confirms he is fortunate to accept.
Bride’s father then says – ‘धर्मे च अर्थे च कामे च नातिचरितव्या’ – In all phases of Dharma, Artha, Kaama you should be only with her, you should never violate.
The bridegroom promises saying ‘नाति चरामि’ – I will not violate.
Above two sentences are said three times. Hindus believe that any statement said three times reaches God, and is fixed as truth forever.
Note: The groom and bride’s parents are not supposed to have full meal on the day of Kanyadan till the ritual is complete.
14. Sumuhurtam/ Lagnam: A paste made of Jaggery and Cumin seeds powder is given to bride and groom.
The purohits will say ‘सुमुहूर्ते सावधान’ loud three times. This means ‘be alert, it is the auspicious time now’.
Exact at the wedding-time fixed by Astrologers and Purohits (during Engagement), bride and groom will put the paste on each other’s crown of the head (Brahma randhra – centre of top of head). The combination of jaggery and cumin seeds is considered to generate positive electric charge which passes through the crown of the head opening ‘Sahasrara Chakra’ and reaches ‘Ajna Chakra’ at the centre of eyebrows. At this time the purohits bless the couple with mantras.
‘ध्रुवं ते राजा वरुणो ध्रुवं देवो बृहस्पतिः, ध्रुवं त इन्द्रश्चाग्निश्च राष्ट्रं धारयतां ध्रुवम्’
Oh king! May Varuna give you stability; May the divine Bruhaspati give stability; May Indra and Agni give stability; May the kingdom be held in stability.
At this moment the curtain is removed and the bride and groom are asked to see each other. This auspicious moment is called Lagna, which makes the couple wavelengths to meet which further confirms their life time togetherness. All the elders bless the couple.
15. Madhuparkam: During Varapuja and Kanyadan, bride’s father washes feet of the groom. Because the elder person touched the feet of younger one, some of the power of groom will be lost. Hence he will recite a mantra to regain his power. Then the bride’s father will give ‘madhuparka’ means mixture of curd and honey. At the same time, Bride’s parents will give auspicious clothes to the groom to wear for the wedding.
16. Mangalasutra Dharana: After Lagnam, the bride changes clothes to white cotton saree with red or green border, with a long cloth tied around waist and put across chest (Vallevatu). The bride is brought back to the dais by married women of both families, along with lights and ‘Talambralu’ rice. A sacred thread tied with auspicious Gold pendent called ‘Mangala Sootra’ is worshipped by the groom and bride. Then the groom ties the Mangala Sutra with three knots in the bride’s neck. This sacred thread Mangala Sutra will be worn by the married lady for life time. Following mantra is recited by Groom with the help of Purohit.
माङ्गल्यं तन्तुनानेन मम जीवन हेतुना! कण्ठे बध्नामि शुभगे त्वं जीव शरदां शतम् ||
‘O the one having auspicious attributes! Around your neck, I am tying this sacred thread which is essential for my long life. May you live for hundred years’.