Jun 3, 2013

Wedding in Rajasthan - A Celebration of Love, Food and many Emotions

"Marriage is not about the beginning; marriage is about the process and still being able to love through all things." ~  Rhonda. A marriage is a once in a life time ceremony in which not only vows, but also two families are shared between a man a woman tying knot.     
An Indian wedding is a perfect blend of traditions, grandeur, delectable cuisine and sacredness of celebrations. The unbound enthusiasm and the flow of emotions of all the family members have to be seen to be believed.
And if marriages are made in heaven wedding rituals are celebrated & followed on Earth.
My father being the eldest among 6 siblings, conducted the marriage of all his younger brothers and sisters. We would start packing for our grandmom’s place almost a month before the actual ceremony starts.
I still have a vague memory of all the three aunts of mine during 1970’s when I was around 6-7 years of age. Those days a Rajasthani wedding ritual will was a 21 days long affair. My grandmother used to stitch traditional Gaghra and choli for me studded with beads and golden laces.
Each days will be reserved for specific rituals and functions. Women members of family of both sides involve themselves in making beautiful patterns with Henna on hands, rub turmeric & chickpea flour on bodies and tie a special ornament called Rakori on their head.
Typical Bridal dress is a deep red Gaghra and chunri with heavy embroidery and the  groom wears sherwani with Rajastani Jootis.
Bridegroom is the star attraction of this procession siting atop a decorated horse  sits on a beautifully decorated mare and is escorted by other family members who sing, dance and burst crackers along the way as they approach the marriage hall.
The Baaratis are given a warm red carpet welcome by the bride’s family. After the initial ritual of exchanging garlands the actual wedding begins . A typical Rajathani marriage starts late in the night and continues till the wee hours of morning.  
People of Rajasthan love good food, sweets and colours in their life. The number of desserts in any function easily surpasses the savory dishes prepared. 

The girls’ side make arrangements for comfortable stay for the groom’s family members who are now called ‘Baaratis’.
On the wedding day the bridegroom's family and friends arrive to the marriage venue in a colourful procession with a live band playing foot tapping music.
These pictures are from a recent marriage of a relative I attended in Udaipur this year. This is a typical Maheshwari marriage, a popular business community of Rajsathan.
Entire hotel was booked for the members of bridegroom. And girl's side made sure that everyone is accommodated well and is comfortable.

Evening before the marriage when children were anxiously waiting for the Baarat to start to the marriage venue with the live band and the bridegroom riding the horse

The lush green lawns and the artistically decorated lobby with a red carpet welcome to the Baaratis was overwhelming.

I asked my uncle if I can reach the spot early before the Baaratis arrive and the venue become overcrowded.so that I can take a few pictures of the beautifully decorated place. We were the first from the groom's side to arrive.

Entire ground was covered with a colourful Shamiana or tent and had about 60-70 food stalls with authentic Rajasthani cuisines. A small portion from every dish is first presented to lord Vinayaka which is placed in the center of the ground.

These are the food stall for main course. There are traditional curries, Chaat dishes and savories from all parts of Rajasthan. We were literally lost in the sea of delicious dishes and could not make choice as to what to eat and what to avoid.

A busy flat bread maker with clay hearth or tandoor to bake the breads. Each line of rolled out dough placed on the table represent breads from different parts of Rajasthan. There were Missi rotis, channa daal rotis, corn breads, Jowar rotis, Khasta rotis, Rabadi ke malpue, Mawe ke kachori........phew.....
You choose the flat bread ball you wish to eat and they bake it instantly for you.

These are the popular Jodhpuri Kachoris, large flat breads stuffed with lentils and spices and deep fried before breaking into smaller pieces and fried again...sheer indulgence.

This dessert was quite new to me, I was informed that this is made with fresh cream and mango puree. The dessert needs to be kept on large slab of ice. Yum is the other name for this dessert....

Close family members with colourful lehengas and decked up in traditional precious jewellery are ready to welcome the arrival of Baaratis. 

Kamarband (wrist band), Kandora, Baju band (arm band) and Rakoris (head gear) are the most important Rajasthani jewellery worn by women during important functions. These are gold jewellery which are passed from one generation to other during marriages.

I could not take more pictures as the Baaratis arrived at aounrd 10.30 PM and the venue was completely taken over by the colourful and noisy Baaratis, shouting, dancing and making merry.
After eating dinner children were exhausted and felt sleepy. Mom asked if we could leave before the ceremony starts as I had to leave Udaipur the next day.
The actual marriage ceremony starts late in midnight and goes on till the wee hours of morning.

I don't have pictures of the sacred rituals performed late in night of the latest marriage I attended.
Here is a file picture of my brother's marriage in 2004 from my album, offering prayers to fire God, one of the many rituals performed during marriage.
Fire god plays atmost important role and the entire marriage ceremony revolves around taking vows and performing homams it.

A file photo from the year 2004 of me and my son at my brothers' marriage. One thing which still pinches me is that I could not wear traditional Ghagra chunri on my brother's marriage. I had just delivered my daughter and was not comfortable wearing the heavy attire. 

Motichoor Ke Ladoo

Papad ki subji, dry fruit chutney methi dana subji, gatte ki subji, Missi roti, Moong dal halwa, Gewar, Rabdi, Jodhpur Kachori are some popular dishes without which any wedding is incomplete.
Here is a recipe for Motichoor Ladoos we often make during festivals, wedding ceremonies and to celebrate other important days in Rajasthan. 
Moti choor Ladoos are different from the usual Besan ladoos, the Boodis (chickpea flour balls) prepared for the former are smaller in size and look like pearl, hence the name Moti which means pearl in Hindi.
The recipe looks intimidating though it has very few ingredients in it. You just need to master the technique to get the correct consistency for the batter for making Boondis and the recipe is effortless.

  • 1 cup Chickpea four or Besan
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Oil to deep fry
For sugar syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • A pinch edible orange food colour

  • Crushed pistachios
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Rose petals
Method; Make one thread sugar syrup with sugar and water. Add colour and cardamom pods in the hot syrup and take off the flame.
Make a thin batter with chickpea flour and water.
Heat oil in a a wok/kadai.
Take a perforated spoon or sieve and hold it over the hot oil. Pour a tablespoon of batter in it and lightly tap so that tiny droplets of batter fall into hot oil.
Fry the tiny Boondis for a few minutes and drain all the fried Boondis.
Drop all the fried Boondis in sugar syrup and let it soak the syrup. Drain all the Boondis in another plate and spread it evenly.
Apply a little oil in your palm and make small balls from the soaked Boondis in the sugar syrup.

Place all the Motichoor Ladoos on a plate and garnish with Pistachios and almonds.

A marriage is a once in a life time ceremony in which not only vows, but also two families are shared. Whichever ritual we follow to celebrate this beautiful bond of love what matters the most is 'the love' and the emotional bonding of the two families which stays forever.

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  1. How I wish I get invited to a Rajasthani wedding just to taste all the delicacies..