Overview of a Telugu Wedding
Telugu Wedding

Namaskaramu!!!! Thanks for sneaking in to read my blog on Telugu Wedding. I’m Vedika Dursheti – A makeup artist by profession. I’m very passionate about the different cultures in India, but I think with moving lifestyles people are forgetting their roots.

My blog series will introduce you to various rituals & customs in Indian Weddings and its relevance in our lives. There are various reasons why these customs were established in the first place and why do our ancestors follow them traditionally.

The Telugu weddings are one of the most traditionally well-performed marriages across the country. These weddings are an elaborate affair and no expense is too much for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Some of the wedding rituals of Andhra/Telangana style weddings are the same as Tamil rituals. Except for the food, they don’t like any modification and alterations in their wedding rituals. The rich and diverse cultural heritage of these two states is reflected in the wedding ceremonies conducted there. 

Whilst these rituals may vary from community to community, there are some common wedding rituals which are religiously practiced in every wedding ceremony. Here, we refer to some of the beautiful ceremonies which are followed in the Telugu Weddings.

Nischyadaartham

Matching the Girl’s and Boy’s horoscope is very important in Andhra/Telangana wedding customs. After the fixing of the marriage, the ceremony of “Nischyadaartham” is performed on a selected day. This is an engagement ceremony which is followed by puja of lord Ganesh; exchange of jewelry, gifts, clothes, fruits and sweets is done among the families of Bride and Groom. All the rituals of engagement are traditionally performed by both families. The Bride and Groom also exchange the Rings during this ceremony. After this, the “lagna patrika” is read describing the date, time, day and place of the wedding along with the Bride and Groom family details. This is then signed by the members of both the family. 

Pelli koothuru pelli kodukuni cheyuta

Similar to the North Indian wedding tradition of Haldi ceremony, this ritual also involves the mixture of oil and turmeric paste which is applied to the Girl and the Boy before marriage. After the application of Haldi both the Bride and Groom take shower and wear new clothes.

Snathakam

This ritual is performed at the house of the Groom. According to this ritual, the groom is made to wear a holy thread which is silver in color. This is done to ensure that he has ended his ‘Brahmacharya Vratha’ and is ready to start his new journey of ‘Grihastha’ after marriage. The Groom takes the permission from his guru in this Vedic ritual.

kashi yatra

This ritual is similar in both Telugu and Tamil weddings. The Groom wears new slippers, carries an umbrella, a bamboo fan, a walking stick and a ‘Grantha’. He pretends to be ready to go to Kashi for gaining further knowledge. Then, the Bride’s brother stops him by requesting him not go to Kashi for learning, and requests him to marry his sister to enter in the new journey of ‘Grihastha’. After this, the Groom accepts the proposal and return back to ‘Mandapam’.

Mangal Snanam

This wedding ceremony is performed generally on the wedding day where the Bride and Groom take a sacred bath before performing all the other customs of marriage. After the “Mangal Snanam”, the Bride and the Groom apply oil on their body at their individual homes. The family members of the Bride and Groom then perform a sacred Aarti for the prosperous and happy married life of the couple.

Gauri Puja

At the house of the Bride this wedding ceremony is performed. Here the Bride prays to goddess Gauri and asks for her blessings for a happy and successful marriage.

Ganesh Puja

Before the arrival of Bride to the Mandap, the groom performs the “Ganesh Puja” at the Mandap. The prayer is done with an aim to seek the blessings of lord Ganesh for their new married life. This Puja or ceremony is performed for good luck to be bestowed on the married couple and their families.

Bride’s Entry

The Bride is escorted to the Mandap by her Maternal Uncle and Aunt. As the priests chant the holy Vedic mantras, a curtain is placed between the Bride and the Groom. In some families, the Bride is carried in a decorated bamboo basket to the Mandap by her maternal uncle. 

Panigrahanam

Panigraham means “holding hands”. The Groom holds the hand of the Bride and the mantras are spoken stating “ the Devas have offered you to me permitting that I may live the life of a householder, we shall not part from each other”.

Jeerakalla-Bellamu

In this wedding custom, the Bride and the Groom apply a thick paste of Jaggery and Jeera on each other’s hand. The paste is applied under the curtain. This is a sign of their unbreakable and inseparable bond.

Madhuparkam

In this wedding custom, the clothes of Bride and Groom are fixed. The Groom wears a white dhoti of cotton which has a red border and the Bride wears a beautiful cotton Saree with Red background. The color of their wedding dress symbolizes purity and strength. This is the conventional attire of the Telugu Bride and groom at the time of wedding.

Sumangali

Ten married women accompany the Bride. Six of the ten women hold plates containing sacred rice. This sacred rice is the mixture of Rice and Turmeric powder. While the rest of them hold small lit lamps in their plates. Rice represents abundance, while the lit lamps symbolize light.

Mangalsutra dharana

The curtain between the Bride and Groom is removed in this wedding custom. A “Mangalsutra” is tied by the Groom around the neck of his Bride with three knots. The three knots signify their physical, mental and spiritual union to one another. 

kanyadanam

This wedding custom is done by the parents of Bride. This customs starts with the washing of Groom’s feet after which they give the hand of their daughter in the Groom’s hand. The Groom thereby promises them to respect, love and protect their daughter for life. 

Akshantalu or talambralu and saptapadi

In this ritual of the Telugu marriage, a garland of flowers is exchanged between the Bride and the Groom. In the “Satapadi” custom, the Bride and Groom take the seven rounds around the “Agni” along with the wedding vows. After completing the seven rounds the Groom puts silver toe rings in the toes of his wife. 

Sthalipakam

It is a ritual wherein the Groom adorns the feet of the Bride with a silver toe ring. It is also believed that the man bends to the women in order to claim her as his. Also to restrain the evil eye, the Bride is adorned by a string of Black Beads.

Arundhati Nakshatram

It is a ritual where the Bride and the Groom are shown the stars representing “Arundhati” and “Vasistha”. These stars represent the perfect couple complimenting each other.

Appagintalu

This ceremony takes place at the end of the wedding, where the Bride is traditionally handed off to the Groom and his family.

Griha-Pravesh

After the marriage, the newly wedded Bride goes to her new home with her husband. As soon as they reach the Groom’s house, the Groom’s mother welcomes the newlywed couple on the main door with a small “Aarti”.

Satayanarayana Vratam

Satyam means “Truth” and Narayana means the “The Highest Being”, so together it means “The Highest Being who is Embodiment of Truth”. It is a Puja performed on any day except on the new moon.

Wedding Dress

Telugu Brides wear Saree on their wedding. South India is very famous for silk sarees and there is a huge variety of the same, some of the most common sarees used in the Telugu Weddings are as follows:

Mysore silk saree

Known for their light weight properties and are mostly available in all colors. The border of the saree has zari woven in similar border, it maybe overlayered with another color under the zari weaving.

Chattinad Saree

The lovely cotton sarees from Tamilnadu, where they are woven in checks or plains. They are also available in zari weave designs, scattered or bordered. Mainly they may have contrast cotton border on the Saree.

Gadwal saree

These are sarees in silk which have a border in intricate zari weave design like mythological, coin or floral motifs on a color base and later attached to Saree in weaving. These can be broad borders or even a normal 3 inches border.

Kanjivaram Silk Saree

We all have heard about this one, they are in contrast color borders and zari border. Temple motif on borders and pallu divides the saree. Mostly the zari has intricate design weave and are heavier silk sarees.

Konrad silk saree

These are Silk Sarees which have a specific weave design in body which is in checks or lines in horizontal or vertical zari. Sometimes has motifs arrived in zigzag weave or motifs which appear small inside Saree base.

Wedding Jewelry

Describing South Indian jewelry as ‘ornate’ would be accurate, but a gross oversimplification of what it really is. To South Indians, jewelry is deeply rooted in every aspect of their life tradition, religion, rituals, ceremonies, weddings, festivals and is perceived as a status symbol, the abundance and display of which is proportional to one’s success in society.

Traditional south indian necklaces or haarams

Lakshmi haar

A long gold necklace encrusted with jewels. The central piece of a “Lakshmi Haar” is a finely crafted engraving of goddess Lakshmi surrounded by peacocks or elephants, studded with precious stones. The goddess represents wealth and prosperity. It is worn during celebrations, festivals and is a main staple of the Bridal Jewelry set. Lakshmi Haar, when made with gold coins, is called Lakshmi Kasu Mala.

Mango mala

Unique to the south, a mango mala or manga malai comes in lightweight or highly embellished heavy versions. They look great on kanjeevaram sarees as well as on any traditional outfit. Mango-shaped pendants with mostly cabochon rubies and pearls form the chain of the necklace with an intricate pendant at the centre. This is usually worn during weddings and other major celebrations. Mango symbolises love.

Kasu mala

An ancient ornament, “Kasu Mala” means ‘gold coin necklace’ where little gold coins with Lakshmi insignia are chorded together so that they overlap. Kasu mala comes in different sizes, from short pieces for lighter occasions to ornate long ones for traditional attires. Women of the older generation wear smaller kasu mala as everyday jewellery. The necklace symbolises good luck & wealth.

South indian hand ornaments

Vanki

Symbolising strength, the vanki is an armlet in the inverted v shape, made of gold, diamonds and rubies. Common motifs are images of goddesses, peacocks, elephants or serpents. Its origins lie in snake worship. Precious stones like emeralds are also used in decorating the top half of vanki. Vankis are worn during weddings, social ceremonies or religious occasions.

Kadas (valayal, gajju, bale)

Various kadas are worn by women in the south along with green and red bangles, the whole cluster signifying fertility. Unmarried women prefer thinner and lighter kadas. Larger cuff-like bangles or kadas are made with floral, animal motifs exquisitely carved upon chunky layers of gold, studded with kemp, sapphires, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones. Thin kadas are worn on a daily basis while the ornate, antique ones are saved for special occasions and celebrations.

South indian hair ornaments

Jadanagam

Jadanagam is the ‘Hair Serpent’ that women wear over their braided hair. The back of the head is styled with sun and moon shaped design, accompanied with fresh flowers worn over the hair, followed by the interlaced Mishmash of diamonds, rubies, pearls, and other gemstones covering the length of the hair. Brides wear this on their wedding day.

Nethichutti

A highly elaborate Maang Tikka, the “Nethichutti” has become quite trendy with modern brides of India. From thick bands that cover the entire forehead with Kemp, Kundan crafting and diamond, gemstone embedded designs, to layered & beaded, Nethichutti are all in rage with brides. They signify the union of man and woman.

suryapirai and chandrapirai

Sun and moon shaped hair brooches worn over the two sides of hair partition are special to South Indian bridal hair adornment. These represent the divine blessings of the eternal celestial objects. These are made with colored jewels of green, pink, red and blue embossed in gold. This also signifies the unity between the Husband and Wife.

South indian kundan/polki jewellery

The art of kundankari is blended with traditional symmetrical jewelry designs in the south, giving rise to magnanimous jewelry that is delicate, royal and can be strikingly commanding at times.

Kundan addigai

Addigai is a loose fitting choker-type necklace that can be made upon a dainty framework of Moulded gold grid pattern with gemstones or can be a larger piece with a closed back setting. Traditional Addigai can be slightly longer made with Kundan work as well as Polki (uncut) diamonds. Addigais, depending on their size, can be worn at parties, functions or weddings.

Hyderabadi kundan choker

Made of exquisite designs, decked with gold, precious stones, pearls, truly fit for royalty, Hyderabadi chokers are outstandingly gorgeous. Floral motifs are usually preferred. Being a favorite of the modern bride, smaller chokers can be worn at any celebration or festival. They come with Kundan earrings that are similarly designed, but one can buy standalone pieces too.

South indian Gold & pearl jewellery

Chandra haaram

This is a long necklace with side motif, that is usually a jewel. The long chains can be made of thin gold links or interspersed with a layer of pearls. Small south sea pearls and Nakshi balls hold together the side motif. Pearls are a symbol of calmness, combined with the warmth of gold in a Chandraharam. It can be worn as fashion jewelry or at celebrations. 

Mangalsutra

Unlike Mangalsutras you’ve seen in other parts of the country, South Indian Mangalsutras come in dual gold coin style, leaf shapes and highly detailed artwork on the central pendant (shaped like squares and bars), which may or may not be held together with black beads (there are thread Mangalsutras available also). Diamond Tanmaniyas have become a favorite of the less traditionally inclined brides.

Diamond & pearl long necklace or haaram

Apart from gold, South Indians love diamonds and pearls. Long necklaces and earrings made from uncut diamond and original pearls are quite popular among the upper elites of south India. This was the fashion that used to be predominantly followed by Hyderabadi Muslims, however, with changing times, this is now being followed by other religions as well in South India.

Modern south Indian jewelry

Gundla mala

Traditionally made with layers of gold beads and dual side motifs of jewels, the lighter version of Gundla Mala is becoming popular with women today.

Rings

Vanki and Meenaz rings are becoming a fashion statement among women. They can be worn on a number of occasions or at formal celebrations.

Gold chains

The South Indians love their gold chains –  Men, Women, and Children. You will find most of them wearing thick Cuban link chains as regular jewelry.

Silver anklets

Kundan or Kemp anklets are preferred during weddings, however, for regular wear, most women prefer silver or imitation anklets along with Metti style toe rings or more opulent statement toe rings.

Nose rings or mukku pudaka

Similar to the Maharashtrian Nasal Ring, the Nasal ring of South India is medium in size and circular, but not too large. It is made of gold and pearls or colored stones. Contemporary women in southern India prefer diamond needles.

Pachi jewelry

Originating from Kutch region in Gujarat, Pachi Jewelry is similar to Kundan Jewelry except it is made on a more delicate silver framework rather than gold and emphasises more on the vibrancy of the gemstone colors set in myriad patterns.

South Indian Waist Bands, Earrings & Temple Jewelry

Jhumki

These are bell or chandelier shaped, medium to heavily embellished earrings that drop imposingly, accentuating the woman’s face. They are made with Kemp (red, green or blue stones), Kundankari, or Gold and Gemstone combinations. Smaller ones are worn on a daily basis, while the larger ones are reserved for special occasions and weddings.

Oddiyanam/Vaddanam

Oddiyanam is a waist belt worn by women to hold up their Saree. Designed as a symmetrical belt with heavily embellished carvings underlined by jewels such as Rubies, Diamonds, Blue Sapphires, Emeralds. The design motifs are Peacocks, Birds or Images of Deities. Also called Vaddanam, the Oddiyanam is meant to accentuate the woman’s hips.

Linga padakka muthu malai

This historic style of Jewelry is based on temple architecture of the south originated in the 9th century and was originally the offering Jewelry that the kings adorned the idols of gods and goddesses with. Later it became popular with classical dancers and now finds a place in fashion as well as traditional ensembles in the south. The Jewelry is usually embossed of gods and goddesses.

This concludes my blog on “Telugu Wedding”. Hope you liked it. You may also be interested in few of my other blogs as well. If Yes, then please go ahead and click on the button below to find all my blogs. Happy Reading!!!!