The way Dogra marriage is solemnised

Dr M L Dogra
Dogra Vivah (Marriage) has a superior and important place in the culture of Jammu and Kashmir. Dogra vivah is done according to the various customs and rules described in our Vedas and Purans. Marriage according to such customs is seen only in dogri culture . Before proceeding to discuss “Dogra Vivah” in detail, let us first understand the meaning of “Dogra” and “vivah”.”Dogra” word is derived from word “dugg” (deep) means an area which is surrounded by mountains and the people residing in this area named as Dogras. Dogras include people of all castes and religions – Hindu, Musilm, Sikh and Christian but mainly include Hindus. These people lives together happily and speak the same language i.e Dogri.
“Vivah’ i.e marriage is the sacred relationship between a male and a female bounded by social and religious rules and regulations which give them freedom to have physical relationship and produce their children.This relationship gives happiness and immense pleasure. Marriage is performed according to different customs in different parts and regions. Dogras marriage is full of excitement.Two-three months before the marriage, a ceremony called mangni (engagement) is done. In bride’s home , “Suhag” is sung by the ladies and in bride groom’s home ‘Ghodia”, and sweets are distributed among the relatives.
Few days before the marriage, “Rokka” is done. In the Rokka, bride Groom’s parents go to bride’s home and give her clothes, ornaments, sweets, (Shagun) and in the same way bride’s parents also go to bride Groom’s home and do the Rokka with Tikka, Rumal and Sweets.One day before the marriage, “saant” ceremony is done in the both bride and bride groom’s home. Maternal uncle (mama) plays a very important role in the sant. He wears Dhoti and takes water in a special pot (Louta) and moves it around the bride and bridegroom after putting sandal wood and turmeric. Barat proceeds in the evening on a beautifully decorated Ghodi (mare). In Barat, there is a custom in which Bhabi (sister-in-law) puts Surma (kajal) in the eyes of bride groom. Barat is accompanied by a band. Groom’s sister feeds the Ghodi with chana (Black gram) and sings the following song.
“Ghodi chadad beergi garmi aayi
Pakha choldiya behna
Salama dende ne Bhai”
In the bride’s home, ceremony of “Milni” is performed between Bride’s and Bride groom’s father followed by maternal uncle and paternal uncle (Mama and Chacha) in which they exchang their garlands. Ladies from bride’s side, sing the special song called sidnya (humorous song)
Nahi lene asi nahi lene
Titra baj karele
Lade da Bab Iyan Dhikhda
Jian Cham Charak De dele
Je Tu Aayio baniya
Bebe liyani se naal
Ki tu rona Baniya
Bheain Liyani se naal
After Sidniya, Baratis enjoy the food and sweets arranged by the bride’s parents. Then bride’s mother welcomes the groom with Aarti (a plate containing ghee, diya) and gives him sweets /suchi to eat and takes him to Mandap. In the bridegroom’s home all the females sing and dance the whole night. They believe that if they do not sleep, the groom will also not feel sleepy. The song is like this:
Meri uthi kaleje peed, Haiey me nai bachdi
Meri nai bachne de haal, Hay me nai bachadi
Khabar karo, khabar karo mere mahiye gi
Jis lama liye char, Hay me nai bachadi
Dulasi paer paya munde di mau…………
After worshipping all the planets (grah), gods and goddesses, the “feras” start in which bride and groom move around the Agni. Total of seven feras (rounds) are taken, in 1st four boy leads the girl and in the rest three girl leads the boy. During the feras, Priest tells the couple about the seven responsibilities and duties they have to take in the future. During the feras, ladies sing the following song (suhaag)
Is wele hun koi jage
Raje karma da wela
Jage kudi di mama
Raje karma da wela
After the feras, “Kanyadaan” is done. In the kanyadaan, bride’s father gives the hand of his daughter in the hand of groom. At the sametime, in the bride groom’s home also feras are taken between his mother and paternal aunty (bua). The groom’s mother wears sehara and takes sword (talwar) in her hand during feras.
After the Vivah is completed, bridegroom is introduced to all the relatives and he takes their blessings by touching their feet (Charan sparsh). Bride’s sister (Saali) also play an important role in the marriage. They hide the shoes of groom and take good amount of money (lagg) in the exchange. They tease the groom with special song called “chhand”.
Chhand paroge gayie gayie
Chhet paroge wich ucha
Jije da bab lucha
In the similar way, groom also has to sing the chhand. After this ‘vidai’ take place, in which bride goes to bride groom’s home. A new chapter of her life starts. In ‘Vidai’, bride’s brother takes her to palki and she proceeds to groom’s home on palki. But now the tradition has changed. As the couple reaches the bridegrooms home they are welcomed by Aarti. The bridegroom’s sister stands at the entry with a special pot (Louta) containing water on her head and takes money (lagg) from her brother and the groom enters the home.
In the Dogra vivah, dishes like rice, daal and ambal (Khata Pumpkin) has special place. Dogra vivah is considered to be incomplete without these dishes. Before the 16th Century, in the Dogra vivah, barat was accompanied by Dhol, Turi, Kail, Dadhle. Britishers introduced the pipe band (Been) and brass band. Now the band is just used for shagun.In the past, in both the sides (bride and bridegroom) Geetdu, Bakha, Karka & Batan were played with sarangi, people used to enjoy these and dance whole night but now the people enjoy and dance only on filmi songs. In the past, marriages would take place in the house but now the marriages are done in marriage halls. There is no host to entertain the guest. In short, the love and affection is running away from our society.
Our new generation is so much fascinated by the western culture that it is affecting our life. In today’s marriage, the couple sits on the stage and shares their garland but in the past, bride would come in to the mandap with ‘Ghoongat’, no one could see her face. There was one more custom called “Muh-Dikhayi” during which elders would see her face and give her blessing. There was one more custom in which bridegroom’s younger brother (Dewar ) would sit on the lap of bride to give her lagg.In the past, there were customs like taking bride to kitchen, to well, chashma, from where she took water to home. She used to wear bangels, anklets etc. sound of which made the atmosphere of home musical and wonderful, but now these things have vanished.At the last, just want to say that “Marriage is lifelong partnership between a male and a female. It is the basis on which family and society is built.”