Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pani Tula and Nuani Tradition....Assamese Wedding Rituals

The wedding day started here with the groom's dad performing NAU-PURUSH SHARADHA(a special ceremony in honor of last nine generation ancestors from the groom's father side and the last three generations from the mother's side).It is like presenting the departed souls an invitation to this auspicious ceremony.Here you can see groom's dad performing the ritual according to vedic rules.
After the Shradha all the family members seek blessings from the priest to start the other rituals.Now you can see the ladies of the family preparing for PANI TULA which means collecting the sacred water for the ceremonial bath of the groom.This ritual is followed by both the sides.The bride wears a mekhela-chadar set presented by the groom's mom specially for this ritual and after the rituals she never wears that set again,it is left back or gifted to someone else.
Groom's mom and the other women mostly relatives and friends go to a river or a pond nearby to collect the water.A DULONI (a brass stand as you can see cousin of the groom holding in the picture above) is prepared which contains a lighted saki (lamp) over a heap of the same rice grain which was brought back from the bride's house during JURAN ceremony,one pair of tamul-pan(betel nut and leaves), a coin and a knife.Five earthen vessels covered with five mango leaves are needed - the main vessel is carried by the groom's mom and the other four by the other relatives.Ladies sing biya naam(wedding songs) and uluni(a special sound made by rolling the tongue inside the mouth).The group the proceeds to the river or the pond.
I don't have the picture where they collect water as i stayed back but i can tell you what happens there.On reaching the river/pond groom's mom takes the permission of the river to collect water by bowing .Here as the mother asks for the water another lady acting as the river questions her ..WHY HAVE YOU COME HERE? The mother replies MY SON IS GETTING MARRIED ,NEED WATER FOR HIS BATH FROM YOU.Again the lady questions WHAT YOU SAW ON YOUR WAY ?The mother replies I SAW LORD SHIVA AND GODDESS PARVATI getting married.Now the mother takes the knife in her hands and crosses the water thrice before filling her vessel with the water....all the five vessels are filled at the same time.Once done the group returns without looking back at the river site.
You can the see the group returning back to the house.The groom's mom sprinkles little water from the vessel at her house .Now they all go to the place where NUANI(ceremonial bath) takes place.
The groom follows his mom by holding an end of a GAMOSA(a traditional cotton cloth) while his mom holds another end.The group takes few rounds around the KOL-PULLI(a freshly planted banana tree),now the ladies keep the vessels on the ground and the groom sits on a special asana(seat).
The ceremony starts with the mother applying oil ,curd and a paste of haldi-mah(turmeric and urad lentils) the same process is followed by all the ladies present .Once this round is completed the groom's mom pours the sacred water from the vessel over the groom's head and again this process is followed by all the ladies present.WE smear the curd and the paste on each others face too.
After the bath groom wears a fresh set of cloth and seeks blessing of his mom and all the other ladies present.Within few hrs. the groom proceeds towards the bride's home for the main wedding ceremony.



  1. One interesting account of the wedding ceremony....there's part three too, right? Loved the part about the women goign to fetch the water and asking the river...I just love the diversity of our country! :)

  2. Kavita, did you and your husband participate in these rituals when you got married? Were photos taken?

    I ask, because in America, there are wedding rituals also, but my husband and I did not participate in all of them. David had a bachelors party the night before our wedding, but other than that, there was nothing else.

  3. waiting eagerly for the next episode. interesting details of the ceremony.

  4. vallah...gr8 u r not a doctor, journalist...hehe:)

  5. Wow! Its just so interesting :) I luv to know the diff. customs and traditions and this is so awesome Kavitha :) Thanks for sharing :)

    Btw, I luved that dialogue which goes on b/w the groom's Mom and the river :) Its also so nice to ask the river .. shows hw we hv to value everything :)

  6. Very descriptive.Must have taken days to get the function organised.

  7. Very interesting and elaborate ceremony,indeed. Why does the groom's mother make those three crosses with knife at the river?great pics.

  8. how special I love hearing of your traditions and ceremonies and the remembering of the ancestors.

  9. One India , different cultures !

    Really nice to know different rituals of various communities..

    I am fascinated by the duloni!

  10. In our marriages also we get apply oil and haldi but that is usually done one day before the marriage day and after that bride and the bride groom are not supposed to leave the house.

    This shows how diversified india is.Mera bharat mahan.

    Thanx for sharing such a wonderful rituals kavi.Hugs

  11. Wow, takes a lot of preparation for the wedding.

  12. Hi Kavita Di !! Well i am amazed to see and know that even in India weddings are performed in different styles.Nice to know about your place stuff !!

  13. @LIN..Thanks,i knew you would be interested in ancestor part,genealogy being a subject of interest of yours.

    @lakshmi rajan..Thanks,even my folks at Delhi are enamored by DULONI,have gifted many of these to my relatives..a bit expensive though being totally hand made.

    @VARUNAVI..Thanks,we Indians mostly follow the same things with little changes here and there.Hugs to you too dear!

    @PATTY.Thanks,yes it does take a lot of time,effort and money as well.

    @UNSEEN RAJASTHAN..Thanks a lot Rajesh.

  14. amazing post Kavita...that was really very informative...enjoyed reading it...the way u described it, i felt i was there attending the wedding with u! great one :)

  15. THANK YOU! in the Gowd Saraswat Community we have a similar ritual of collecting water ..well water also suffices....and we use urad dal too ...regions apart but several similarities ...all from our vedic roots nah?

    Mystery solved...u said yours was an inter-caste marriage...i read about your Kumaoni heritage (beautiful pics and posting) and was wondering about the Assamese track...keep it up!

  16. @DESTINY'S CHILD...Thanks.There are few more post on this series..i hope you like them.


    @ROMITA..Thanks,please wait some more.



  17. @SWARAM...Thanks,our vedic rituals always include thanking all the five elements of life in one or anothe way.

    @BK CHOWLA...Thanks,yes it does take a lot of time and effort.

    @HOLY LAMA..Thanks,i asked your question to my m.i.l. she says it is to ward of evil eyes.

  18. @NEHA...OH HOW NICE TO SEE YOU HERE,I am glad that you enjoyed the post.Thanks buddy.

    @CHITRA..Thanks,yeah the mystery is solved.Your enthusiasm always encourages me,please keep on visiting.

  19. I so enjoyed this rich post, Kavita!


    Comfort Spiral

  20. Kavitha,
    Following you back from your comment on my blog. Tx for visiting.

    This is such a great post and the photos support it so well. You said it, with small changes, very many of the customs/thoughts about most Indian marriages are similar..

    A very beautiful and informative post !

  21. There are so many more traditional and symbolic rituals that you seem to be doing for your wedding ceremonies. It's fascinating to learn about it. Your weddings seem so much richer in meaning, Kavita. I love it. Your photos are fabulous!

  22. It feels so good to see the pics and read the description at the same time. I feel like I just attended a wedding ceremony. Really Nice.

  23. Kavita: Our India is really great. Each and every corner of our country have different types of rituals and so many are so similar - the base-line is similar.

    I had included this post of yours in the 'Best photo blog' category in my second list. for which I hadn't done a post! And Tewang post in the 'Best Travel post' category. Both are beautiful posts and I loved reading them. All the best!

  24. I have been following this series and I cant tell you how much I love it.
    My wedding was very similar though I do not have the photographs of all the ceremonies. Our customs are very similar...
    Eagerly waiting for the rest of the series.

  25. U describe the ceremonies so beautifully that I have a feeling of attendin all of them myself. Amazing. Waiting for the actually ceremony to happen on the blog now, :D

  26. It is so similar to the traditional bengali wedding. I do remember as a kid watching women walking to the river/pond to collect water and singing folklores on the way up and down. But the sad part of all this was that they used to keep the widows out of all those rituals/ceremoneies.
    But now all these elaborate functions have disappeared ... atleast from the cities!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing these traditional wedding rituals. Seeing the pictures, along with your wonderful descriptions, makes me appreciate so much the diversity of this world. Can't wait for more!

  28. A wedding photographer in the making?

    Lovely snaps. Colourful.

  29. @CLOUDIA..Thanks and Aloha !

    @MADHU..Welcome !I am glad that you liked the post,thanks a lot.

    @KAY...Thanks.I wanted to convey the same and i am glad you got it right.Thanks again.

    @JYOTHI...Thanks.Virtual marriage glad that you enjoyed.

    @SANDHYA...Thanks.I really appreciate your kind thoughts,i am honored.

    @APARNA...Thanks dear,hope you and Sujata are enjoying your vacations.Cheers!!


  30. @PRIYANKA...Thanks,my next post would be on that.

    @SUMANDEBRAY...Yes,our cultures are very similar.About the widows,well i have not noticed any such thing here till now.My mom-in-law was the one who was in charge of these ceremonies as she is a walking encyclopedia of the customs and rituals.I lost my f.i.l many years back.

    @CLYTIE...Thanks,it makes me happy that you liked the post.

    @MUMBAI PAUSED...Thanks.

  31. nice .... interesting info on marriage

  32. quite interesting and unique. And the images are excellent.

  33. Nice Blog.. Pl do visit my blog..

  34. Very interesting and very well described.

  35. Hi Kavita Didi :)

    I feel happy to write my opinion on your blog posts, after quite a little gap :)

    This post is very intersting to read and the photos are bright n colourful. You have the skill to explain rituals in good detail :)

    I loved the conversation the groom's mother has with the river, really nice :)

    Sai :)

  36. I'll be missing you, Kavita but I do wish you and your family a most wonderful, happy and joyous holiday celebration. Thank you so much for making my blogging so much fun and more meaningful.

  37. This is the first Assamese wedding I've ever attended, personally or virtually. I just love knowing about different cultures and tradition. It's fascinating!


  38. And oh yes, how can I forget to mention the great quality of your photographs?!

    Indian Myna [मैना]

  39. Hi, Kavita.
    Nice to meet you again.
    Sorry, cause I have been working very hard. I`ll be on holiday in January, and so, I`ll have much time to share with my friends.
    I`ll try to change the template of my blog, and create many things.
    Kavita, very interesting post...the wedding ceremony . It´s simple amazing, beatiful.
    Good to know these fascinating religion different magical rituals.
    I would be glad one day, to take part of it.

    God bless you.

    Have a nice day,


  40. Great detail with nice photos. Love it!

  41. each community have something unique to offer... and that goes in marriage rituals too... so beautifully you have described our customs... just loved it...

  42. Fantastic post. Thank you.
    I'm amazed and pleased to see so many photos with nobody texting or talking on a cell phone.

  43. Hello, Kavita. How do you do?
    Here I am again, just to say something for the next year:

    "Let 2010 be a blessed year, filled with peace, health, hopes, joys, and above all, much love, many achievements and acomplisments full".

    Kisses in the hearts and soul.

    Your friend from Brazil,

    Regina Goulart

  44. Each state has their own tradition and its good to observe them.

  45. As always, another wonderful tradition shared with the rest of us. The ceremony is beautiful and I love the photos of the elegant and lavish gowns! Thank you so much for sharing your traditions so that we (I) can learn more about other cultures.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2010!

  46. HAPPY NEW YEAR Kavita!!!where are you?

  47. Amazing, well explained. Thanks for this.

  48. gracias a Dios por intiresny

  49. Can anyone explain to me how these ceremonies would work if the brides parents were both dead and the grooms mother was dead? Thanks...