A south Indian wedding in Madurai

A south Indian wedding at the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is indeed a unique experience. Madurai is the home of the historic Hindu temple Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple. I am not really a ‘temple’ person, but I must admit that this temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi) is indeed very impressive.

Beautiful as it may be, I did not go to Madurai to be a tourist but to attend a wedding. Dhilip and Nilini’s wedding was indeed, as expected, a wonderful and colorful one. I could not stop admiring the women’s incredible fine silk Kanchipuram sarees, so I ended up getting one for my wife as well.

 

The groom's mother blesses him before going to the wedding venue for the prayer ceremony

In the evening, at the betrothal ceremony. Women's from the bridegroom's family bring gifts for the bride.

The bride with all her gifts, surrounded by women from the bridegroom's family

One of the gifts is a new Kanchipuram silk saree. The bride will change into this saree, given by the groom's family, before the ceremony begins.

The bride is adorned with a flower garland and more gifts are given.

The bride and groom cut the wedding cake at the end of the engagement ceremony

Blessings over coconut and rice are a part of the wedding ceremony.

The bride and groom, and the close family during the wedding ceremony. The priest on the right hand side keeps the sacred fire going.

The wedding ring is worn on the toe. In the past, women used to keep their head down so a ring on the toe would symbolize a married person. The men wear the ring on their toe as well.

The end of the wedding ceremony

The groom gives his wife a gold neckless called Taali as the guests shower them with flower petals.

The new couple stand amidst the flower petals at the end of the wedding.