Vedic Hindu Wedding Ceremony

Bharat Pankhania and Alison Rouse

Saturday 30th March 2002

Highclere Castle


The Hindu wedding started with a peace chant to our world, here we are sharing the lyrics of the peace chant with you:


Bhoomimangalam, Udakamangalam

Agnimangalam. Vaayumangalam

Gaganamangalam. Sooryamangalam

Chandramangalam. Jagat mangalam.

Jeevamangalam. Dehamangalam

Manomangalam. Atmamangalam

Sarva mangalam Bhavatu, Bhavatu, Bhavatu.

Sarva mangalam Bhavatu, Bhavatu, Bhavatu

Sarva mangalam Bhavatu, Bhavatu, Bhavatu

May there be tranquillity on earth, on water,

in fire, in the wind,

in the sky, in the sun,

on the moon, on our planet,

in all living beings, in the body,

in the mind and in the spirit.

May that tranquillity be everywhere, and in everyone


A peace chant performed by Ravi Shanker, produced by the late George Harrison.

From the album: Chants of India. Angel Records 1997


Order of Service

The Vedic wedding ceremony is thousands of years old; it is a joyful celebration. Each step in the ceremony has a pertinent meaning and contributes to the overall sanctity and importance of the occasion.

Greeting the groom - Milni (Bottom of Grand staircase)

The groom is escorted to the ceremony by his brother.


The bride’s mother and the priest greet the groom by placing a red vermilion mark on his forehead and serenading him with a diva (candle light)


The groom then steps on a clay pot, which contains grains. By breaking the pot he symbolises that he will not allow any obstacles large (clay pot) or small (grains) to come between him and his bride.


The priest leads the groom (accompanied by his brother and sister) to the Mandap. 

Guests are invited to the Mandap room to take part in the Hindu Vedic marriage ceremony.

The Bride greets the groom - Anterapat

A "curtain" is raised and the bride is invited to the Mandap. Alison was escorted to the ceremony by my family. The priest will perform the opening prayers. The "curtain" is thereafter lowered. The groom and bride will see each other for the first time as a couple to be.


Purification Rites - Achman

Using water from seven holy rivers in India, the priest will chant prayers for purification

Establishing Auspiciousness - Mangal Shanti

Prayers are chanted in order to establish peace and to request blessings

Sipping of sanctified water - Achmaniyam

The bride and groom sip holy water three times chanting a prayer in Sanskrit


Installation of protective deity - Kumbha Sthapana

The priest "installs" and invites Lord Vishnu to the wedding ceremony. He outlines the commitments of marriage according to the Vedic scriptures.


Announcement of resolution - Sankalpa

The time, place, and the names of the couple getting married is announced. The priest asks the bride if she will accept the groom as her husband. The priest implores the groom to treat his bride with great respect.

Uniting of families - Hastamanadap

The priest performs a ceremony to unite the two families.

Symbolically the parents exchange garlands.



Presentation of gold necklace - Mangal Sutra

The groom presents a gold necklace on a coconut to the bride. The bride wears this as a symbol of her husband's protection.



Bestowing of the Bride - Kanya dana

This is an important part of the ceremony. The father of the bride gives her away to the groom’s family. This is considered the greatest dana (gift)



Taking of the brides hand - Pani Gruhanam

The groom addresses the bride while holding her hand. He makes a number of vows to her.




Establishing the tokens of marriage – Mangalya Dharanam

The couple present garlands to each other. This symbolises that they will treat each other with respect and mutual consideration.


Red vermilion is placed by the groom in the bride’s hair parting.


A knot is tied in a shawl thus symbolically linking the couple together.

The priest blesses the knot with a prayer – that it will never be symbolically undone and that the couple will be united forever


.Establishing the sacred fire - Agni sthapanam

God is invited to manifest in the form of fire.



God is given offerings of mixed grains and clarified butter accompanied by Vedic hymns.



 All prayers end in " SWAHA" – "I witness" all guests are invited to join in, offering their blessings to the couple and confirming that they too witness this marriage.


Final offering - Purna Huti

Everyone stands and the bride and groom take some fruit and flowers in their hands. The priest symbolically offers all their vows of marriage into the fire. The flowers and fruit symbolise mother nature and by offering them to the fire the bride and groom are asking the gods for blessing.

Circling the Fire – Mmangala Fera

The couple walk round the fire (havan) four times. Each circle begins with the bride and groom offering grains to the fire symbolising that god (in the form of fire) is a witness to the marriage ceremony.

The four circles around the fire represent four aspects of life:

  1. Dharma – Spiritual duties
  2. Artha – Personal development
  3. Karma – Frutive work
  4. Moksha – Eternal liberation



Symbolic first meal together - Kansar

The couple serve sweet confections to each other, symbolizing that they will provide for each other. My nieces present the sweets to us.



The seven steps Sapta Padi

The couple take their first seven steps together, receiving blessings with each step. Everyone shouts "JAYA!" as a blessing at each step. The steps are:

  1. All of life’s pleasures and pains will be shared equally
  2. They will love and protect their family and each other
  3. They will learn together and trust each other
  4. They will try and lessen the suffering of others
  5. They will tend to each others needs and remain faithful
  6. They will live within their means and spiritual wealth
  7. That the fire and god are witness and they are partners until death

The priest offers a final blessing and declares Bharat and Alison as husband and wife.

As a married couple the wife (deemed the stronger of the pair) takes on the duties of leading and guiding the husband in their new life together. Alison takes the lead in taking the symbolic first steps together.



Blessings – Arshiwad

Blessings from the bride and groom’s families conclude the ceremony.

Everybody announces: Akhandya Sobhagyavati

"A khand So-bhag-ya-vati"

"May you live long and stay married forever"


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