Telugu Wedding Rituals

Though every region in the country has a different set of rituals and traditions that they follow in their weddings, Telugu wedding traditions are quite similar to the Tamil wedding. Also a unique feature of the Telugu weddings is that they focus mostly on spirituality and not solely on religion.

In a Telugu wedding, functions and rituals are considered to be only when women participate in them. They give utmost respect to women and consider women as an equal to men when it comes to marriage and family life. Here are some basic rituals that are involved in a traditional Telugu wedding.

Pelli Chupulu (Pre Wedding):
In the earlier times, the girl and boy used to see each other only during marriage because everything was decided by parents and all discussions used to happen only between elders of families.
Later traditional families agreed that the consent of the boy and the girl before marriage is important, so it became formal to make girl and boy see each other and declare whether like or not. This event of looking each other is called 'Pelli Chupulu'.

Nishchitartham (Engagement):
Photo courtesy: Wedding photography
As per the tradition of India marriage is supposed to be a family union and not an individual formality. Once the marriage is agreed from both the sides, the families meet to perform rituals to make the engagement official. An auspicious date time(muhurtam) for the wedding is decided based on horoscopes of girl & boy. The couple is then blessed by elders of both families, and is given new clothes by respective in-laws, and exchange rings, after which all the invited guests will have feast.

Mangala snanam for Pelli Kuturu/ Pelli koduku (Decorating bride & Groom):
Photo courtesy: Wedding photography 
This is also performed as an event by married women. More like haldi ceremony up North, in this ritual, a paste of turmeric& Sunnipindi and oil is applied to both the bride and the groom at their respective places.The bath will start with massaging body with oil, then with a paste. This cleansing brings natural glow to the body.
After bath the bride will be decorated with new silk saree, jewellery and with a black dot on her left cheek. Groom will wear new dhoti kind traditional clothes, with a black dot on right cheek. They will be blessed by elders. After this event, the bride & groom are not allowed to go out of town/ cross any river till wedding time.

This rituals takes place at the groom's place. In this, he is made to wear the holy silver thread. This is a mark that he is now ready to graduate from bachelorhood to become a family man.

Gauri puja:
This ritual usually takes place at the brides house where she offers her prayers to Goddess Gauri and seeks the deity's blessings.

Ganesh puja:
The groom is supposed to perform the Ganesh puja at the mandap before the arrival of the bride to ward off all evils and any obstacles.

Bride's Entry:
Photo: Sumuhurtham photography 
The bride is accompanied to the mandap by her maternal uncles. At the mandap, there is a curtain (Adduthera) between the groom and her, while the priest recites the holy mantras. In some communities, the bride is carried to the mandap in a bamboo basket by her uncles.

Photo courtesy: Wedding photography 
Here, the bride and the groom apply a paste of jeera (cumin) and jaggery on each other's hands from under the curtain. This ritual denotes their inseparable and unbreakable bond.

This ritual is performed by the bride's parents where after washing the groom's feet, they offer their daughter's hand to the groom. The groom promises to love, respect and protect his bride for life.

In this ritual, the bride is made to wear a cotton saree with a red border, while the groom wears a white cotton dhoti with a red border. This is the traditional wedding outfit of the bride and the groom. These colours symbolize their purity and strength respectively.

Mangalsutra ritual:
During this ritual, the curtain between the couple is removed and the groom ties a mangalasutra around the bride's neck with three knots. This signifies their mental, physical and spiritual union with each order.

In this ritual, the bride and the groom pour pearls or turmeric coloured rice on each others head. They cup their hands and hold rice in it. The couple then slides the rice over each other's head as a priest recites mantras.

Kanyadaana Akshata:
Here the couple exchanges flower garlands as their friends and relatives shower flowers and turmeric colored rice on the couple.

Saptapadi and Sthaalipaakam:
In this ritual, the couple takes seven rounds around the holy fire while taking their marriage vows. After this, the groom puts a silver toe ring on the bride's toe.

This is similar to the viaai ceremony in the North Indian weddings. Once the wedding is over, the bride is traditionally considered to be a part of the groom's family from then on. This is a bittersweet moment for the bride and her family.

After leaving her parent's home, the newly wed couple reaches the groom's house. Here, the groom's mother welcomes the couple by performing aarti.

Satyanaravan vratham:
After the entry of bridal couple into  the house of bride-groom, his family will perform Satyanarayana varath. This puja is performed by all Telugu people. With this they Happy married life takes a wonderful and pleasant start.

Different Telugu communities have different rituals and customs for their celebrations. But generally, Telugu weddings attach a deep spiritual value to whatever customs they may follow.

Let's respect our rich Indian culture and pass on to our children for treasuring.