Decorated dais for Hindu Marriage, Kerala, India
The well decorated dais, lighted brass lamps, Ashtamangalyam (the set of eight auspicious things).. all are set to welcome the couple who are ready to step into an important phase of their life. In the traditional Hindu marriage, even the minute elements related to the marriage ceremony should be sacred, auspicious and of course, colourful.
The beautifully embellished dais, where the marriage rituals take place, is called Kathir Mandapam. Lighted wick lamps will be placed within the dais. Nirapara (a full measure of paddy) with a flowering coconut bunch on it, betel, plantain fruits, coconuts, burning incense sticks and lemons will be placed within the Kathir Mandapam. All these are believed to be auspicious and would bring good luck.
A white cloth will be placed on a raised surface for the bride and groom to sit on. Elders see to it that the bridal dress and Thali, the wedding string are well arranged. Girls wait to welcome the bride and the groom with lighted lamps.
The rituals of Hindu wedding owe their origin to the Vedic tradition. In Kerala, most of these are retained, but the ceremonies and rites are simpler compared to the other parts of the country.