The wedding day is finally here. Malayali weddings as I have mentioned earlier are unlike any North Indian weddings and compulsorily happen in the morning. This one was in a 1000-seater capacity auditorium. On the main day, women are mostly in their finest silk Kerala sarees along with garland worn as hair ornament and men are in their best silk Mundus and silk shirt. The groom enters to the beats of live traditional music accompanied by his male family members. Contrasting to North Indian grooms, a Malayali groom does not wear any headset and is more simply dressed for the ceremony. Groom’s entry was followed by the bride’s entry along with her bridesmaids who directly steps on the main stage. The bride was wearing a two-piece Kerala silk saree along with gold ornaments, fresh jasmine flower garland and other gold ornaments in hair. This was followed by prayers by the bride, after which the groom also comes up on the stage to sit beside the bride. The groom tied a mangalsutra known as “thaali” in Malayalam round the bride’s neck. The couple then exchanged garlands and this ritual was followed by kanyadaan conducted by the bride’s father, who places her hand over the groom’s hand. This signifies that he has now handed his daughter over to the groom. The couple then circled the mandap (which is on the stage itself) thrice and the groom then applied vermillion on the bride’s forehead at the parting of her hair. The couple then seeks blessing from the parents. Later, the rest of guests who were waiting patiently on their seats in the auditorium start making queue for their turn to give gifts, blessings and get themselves clicked with the newlyweds. Basically, the entire wedding ceremony took around 20-30 minutes only.
At the same time, a lavish feast was happening below the auditorium, in the ground floor for the guests. This was a pure vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf. It was pure bliss to experience such a systematic and beautiful traditional Malayali ceremony.
In the end, with heavy heart and a promise to come back again to ‘God’s own country’, we ended our trip. We packed our luggage back at the hotel and headed straight to the railway station in order to catch our train for Mangalore. Mangalore is the nearest city to Kanhangad to have a domestic airport terminal.
Overall, Kerala has made a lasting impression in our hearts and we sincerely hope to see this happy state again.