Category Archives: Marriages

The best dates to get married

Best dates to get married Astrology

Before we begin, if you are here just to find out the best dates to get married, click here to find out in an instant. If you want know about it, continue reading.

Well, that looks like a difficult one. How do I get to know the best dates to get married? What are the variables that actually decide the best? There are rules in astrology, which tell you in detail, dates and times to avoid. It also tells you dates and times that are good. When deciding on the dates, one has to cross out those dates which are not favourable astrologically, because it has the precedence. Of course, there are some exceptions, read on.

What do the planets say

Whether we like it or not, we know that some people are better in one or more ways than the others. Some are better of in terms of money, wealth, education and in other parameters. While we are not here to what the reason for their present status is, we all know that each one was born in a different date and time. Astrology says that the date, time and place of birth decides on the fate of an individual, among other factors.

astrologicall best dates to get married
Best dates to get married

The dates to avoid getting married

Before we decide on the best dates to get married, the easier approach is to cross out dates that we need to avoid. By default, there are certain dates that need to be avoided under all circumstances.

The dates to avoid for a wedding reception or a marriage ceremony are Amavasya [new moon], Prathamai, Pournami [full moon], Ashtami, Navami, Chandrashtama for the bride or groom

Best dates to get married in 2015

What else decides on the best dates to get married in 2015 or 2016? Once the avoidable dates are identified and removed from contention, what remains are the dates that may be considered. Of these, we need to identify the best, based on the horoscopes of the bride and the groom.

Why consider the horoscopes of both boy and girl?

Simple. The horoscopes [jathakam] of both the boy and girl are to be considered together, to identify common favourable dates for both of them. The marriage cannot be just conducted on a date that is considered good only for the boy or the girl. The good dates for both the boy and the girl are identified after positively matching their horoscopes. For more accurate information and to identify the best dates to get married, there are sites like ePanchang.com which can identify the best dates for marriage.

Andhra Marriage Cuisine

Andhra Marriage Cuisine

Andhra food is one of the oldest native foods of country and is marked by traditional preparations as dictated by the rich cultural heritage of the community. Hot and Spicy flavors predominate the Andhra Cuisine which includes the Moghul influenced Hyderabadi cuisine as well.

Telugu Cuisine

The cuisine from Andhra Pradesh is also called Telugu cuisine. The foods of Andhra Pradesh are famous for the heavy use of spices. Rice is the staple food in the Andhra cuisine and is usually consumed with a variety of curries and lentil soups and broths. A typical meal in Andhra cuisine consists of a combination of cooked rice, dal (pappu), curry, pickles (pachadi), yogurt (perugu) or buttermilk (majjiga), and papadum (appadam). Chewing paan, a mixture of betel leaves and areca nut is also a common practice after meals.

Widely used ingredients of Andhra Cuisine

Tamarind is one of the widely used ingredients in Andhra recipes. Most meal accompaniments use tamarind. Chutneys, Pulusu, Sambar( lentil stew), Rasam(tamarind soup), pulihora all use tamarind in good amounts. Green chilies, red chilies and jaggery are other ingredients that are used in Andhra cooking.

Cooking Methods and Utensils of Andhra Cuisine

A lot of Andhra recipes are generally prepared by stir-frying in oil. Delicious curries and rice dishes are made by stir-frying in a mukudu (skillet). Andhra food is also prepared by boiling. Chutneys are prepared by grinding (rubbi) the ingredients to a paste in a modern or conventional blender (rollu). The Amandasta godda is used to crush spices.

Andhra Food Specials

Pulihora, Gongoora pacchadi ( leaves chutney), Bobattulu, boorlu and kakinada kajha are some of the utterly compelling Andhra food. Aaviri kudumu ( urad dal idli) is a steamed breakfast item that is often considered a healthy Andhra food.

Kids generally love desserts like Putarekulu and Chegodi for a snack. Uttapam is an Andhra food that is fast growing in popularity throughout the world.

Andhra breakfast (tiffin)

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A typical Andhra breakfast single day consists of a few chosen from the diverse types of items listed below. Usually it consists of Idli (Rice and lentil based steam cakes), Garelu a.k.a. Vada (Deep Fried Lentil Dough), Minapattu a.k.a Dosa (Rice and Lentil based Pan cake or Crepe or breads or porriges, eaten with condiments. Tea, coffee or milk is sometimes taken with these dishes.

The most common Andhra dishes are:

  • Idli : A Rice and lentil based steam cakes, often eaten plain with some ghee added to it or dipped in condiments like Kaara Podi (Chili Dal Powder) or Chutney and Sambar.

Andhra Dosa Varieties

  • Minapattu a.k.a Dosa: Rice and Lentil based Pan cake or Crepe fried in flat pan laced with cooking oil, accompanied with Chutney and Sambar.
  • Pesarattu: A Moong Dal based Pan cake or Crepe fried in flat pan laced with cooking oil. It is usually served with ginger chutney. Some times Pesarattu is filled with Upma, known as Upma Pesarattu.
  • Godhuma Pindi Attu (Wheat Dosa): Wheat dough Pan cake or Crepe fried in flat pan.
  • Dibba Attu (Idli batter based Dosa): Idli batter poured into a thick and deep frying dish and fried until the outer layers become crispy and brown.
  • Atukula dosa : Dosa made from Atukulu a.k.a Poha.
  • Atukula Upma: Upma made from Atukulu, just replacing atukulu with sooji.
  • Rava dosa: Dosa made with Sooji dough with Chili, Coriander leaves, Onion and Pepper.
  • Saggubiyyam Uttapam : Uttapan (Thick Dosa) made from Sago (Saboodana).

Andhra Upma Varieties

  • Godhuma Uppindi: Upma made from Broken wheat flour.
  • Uppindi a.k.a Upma: Upma made from broken Sooji flour.
  • Saggubiyyam (Sago) Upma : Uppma made from Sago (Saboodana).

Andhra Vada Varieties

  • Garelu (A type of Vada) : Deep fried Lentil based Doughnut, or regular deep fried Dal mixture.
  • Punukulu or Punugulu: Bonda, a deep fried dish made from Idli/Dosa batter.
  • Gunta Punukulu: Made from Rice and Dal batter fried in half sphere-shaped pan.
  • Saggubiyyam Punukuli: Vada made from Sago (Saboodana).
  • Mong Dal Punukulu: Bonda, a deep fried dish made from Idli/Dosa batter.
  • Thapala Chekkalu : A Deep fried Rice and Dal based flat Vada added with onions, Curry leaves and chili.

Andhra Atukulu or Poha Varieties

  • Atukulu: Also known a Poha in Northern states, Moist Rice flakes sautéed in little oil.
  • Challa Pongarelu: A Poha (Rice Flakes), Rice and Curd dish.
  • Atukula dosa: Dosa made from Atukulu a.k.a Poha.
  • Atukula Upma: Upma made from Atukulu, just replacing atukulu with sooji.

Andhra Bread and Roti Varieties

  • Nokulu annam: made corn of Jowar and jaggery.
  • Chapatti: Flattened Wheat dough heated in flat pan. Served with Dal or Chutney.
  • Puri: Wheat dough deep fried in cooking oil. Served with Potato Bajji or Chutney. Though a North Indian dish, It is prepared on some occasions.

Bhojanam (Lunch and Dinner)

andhara

Lunch is usually an elaborate meal in most traditional function; the meal is served on arati aaku, a single plantain leaf, or vistari, a larger plate made of several leaves sewn together. Recently, more people have begun using broad steel plates called kancham. Lunch is served on a single plate in a specific arrangement. Curries and pappu are placed to the right of the diner, while pickles and podi are placed on the left. Special items such as pulihora and garelu are placed at the top right. A large scoop of rice is placed in the middle. Small amounts of pulusu, ghee and buttermilk are typically sprinkled onto the leaf. The ghee is mixed with every item except perugu/majjiga. Food is given tremendous respect in Andhra cuisine and they have a perfect balance of nutrients and flavours in every meal.

Course and servings

Annam is a staple of the entire meal and is typically mixed with the other course using the right hand. It is the main source of carbohydrates. Spiced pickles, pachadis, podis and papadum (appadam) are available as condiments.

The order of a meal is to start with modhati muddha (first bite) with an appetizer of an ooragaaya (spiced pickle) followed by a pappu, which can be made with some vegetables added to it or eaten plain with a pickle accompanying it. It is the main source of protein for vegetarians. This is followed by a couple of koora varieties (curry/main dishes) either only vegetarian or a combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian for getting their vitamins and minerals. A Pappu or Rasam or a Charu (Usually Kadi is the third part of the course. The fourth course of the meal is either a Perugu (Curd or Yogurt) or as Majjiga (Buttermilk) accompanied by a spicy pickle or any of the other condiments. After meal paan or somph, (Arcenut, Betel on Pan Leaf) is also offered in traditional households. On festival or auspicious occasions, sweet is served along with the meal, which is usually eaten first.

Koora/kura/curry (main courses)

Koora – Koora is a generic word for a protein based dish. The actual dishes are called by the material used and the style they are cooked. The different methods of cooking are:

  • Vepudu (Fry): crispy fried vegetables, typically including: okra (bendakaya), ivy gourd (dondakaya), potato (bangaladumpa), colocasia and several regional vegetables but prepared separately for different days.
  • Pappu Koora (Lentil based dish): boiled vegetables stir-fried with a small amount of half-cooked lentils (dal).
  • Podi (Powdered Dal based condiment or seasoning): Mixed with Rice and spoonful of ghee or sesame oil.
  • Gojju (Gravy), Tomato or coriander seed base adding Drum Stick, Brinjal, Okra etc.
  • Pulusu (Sour Paste or Gravy): Pulusu Koora/Aava petti Koora (Stew dish): boiled vegetables cooked in tamarind sauce and mustard paste are two main varieties of Pulusu.
  • Kaaram Petti Koora/Koora Podi Koora (literally dish with curry powder added): sautéed vegetables cooked with curry powder or paste, served as a solid mass. The vegetables can be stuffed with curry powder or paste and are usually cooked whole.
  • Pappucharu (Thick Dal Broth) or *Charu (Diluted than a Sambar)
  • Rasam (Clear soup)
  • Ooragaya (Pickled), Avakaya, Gongura, etc.
  • Pachadi (Pasty/saucy condiment)

Other gravy based curries are chiefly made with vegetables cooked in tomato sauce and onion with coriander and cumin powder.

Pappu Dal

  • Pappu (Dal/Lentils) Toor Daal (Kandi Pappu) or Moong Daal (Pesara pappu) cooked with a vegetable or green. No masala is added to the dal. Some regions include garlic and onion in the seasoning while some regions prefer asafetida (hing/Inguva). Some times the cooked version of the dal is replaced with a roast and ground version of the dal like Kandi pachadi (roasted toor daal ground with red chiles) and pesara pachadi (soaked moong daal ground with red chillies or green chillies).

A very popular Andhra combo is mudda pappu (plain toor dal cooked with salt) with Avakaya.

Pulusu

  • Pulusu (sour) is a curry-like stew that is typically sour and cooked with tamarind paste. Other common bases are tomatoes or mangoes. The mixture can be flavored with mustard, chilies, curry leaves, jaggery, onions, or fenugreek. Fish, chicken, and eggs are typical meat additions.
  • Pachi Pulusu is an unheated version of pulusu typically made of mangoes or tamarind consumed during warm months.
  • Challa Pulusu / Majjiga pulusu – Sour buttermilk boiled with channa dal and coconut paste
  • Menthi Challa / Menthi Majjiga – Sour buttermilk seasoned with ginger / green chili paste and menthi seeds fried in oil.
  • Perugu – The last item of the meal. Perugu (curd) is normally consumed with an accompaniment like pachadi or ooragaya.

Pickles

Pachadi(Chutney/Raitha) and Ooragaya(Pickle) are two broad varieties used at times with rice. Pachadi is typically made of vegetables/greens and roasted green/red chilies. It is prepared fresh and is consumed within a day or two. Ooragaya is prepared in massive amounts seasonally and uses liberal amounts of chilli powder, methi (fenugreek) powder, mustard powder and oil. For a typical Andhrite, no meal is complete without this very essential item. It is consumed on its own mixed with rice or is also eaten as a side dish with pappu/koora.

Non-vegetarian

Apart from a sizable population who are vegetarians, majority of the population cook non-vegetarian dishes. The state also has abundant seafood supply and has extensively established poultry industry. Lamb meat is another traditional fare cooked with century old recipes.

Apart from Hyderabadi biriyani, the rest of the state has its own recipe and generally known as Andhra Biriyani. Kodi (Chicken) Biriyani and Mutton Biriyani are the most popular Biriyani dishes. One version is the Nellore Chicken Biriyani available in many restaurants.

Kodi (Chicken) Koora and Mutton (Lamb) koora are two popular dishes, often made with range of spices and condiments. The gravy base is usually Onions, Tomato, Coriander, Tamarind and Coconut. These gravies are mixed with steamed rice on the plate during lunch. Also pepper is used for fried meat dishes. Popular dishes served commonly in Andhra-style restaurants include the spicy, Andhra Chilli Chicken, Chicken Roast, and Mutton Pepper Fry. Among seafood Tamarind base is widely used. The state’s large Shrimp farming makes Shrimp and Prawns widely available. Andhra Restaurant chains and hotels are very popular in other states due to its extensive variety of meat in the menu.

Evening snacks (tiffin)

Many savoury snacks make appearance during evening time. These are

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Andhra Munakombu
Beeja Manoli Upkari
Rice Nippet
Boondi
Kaarapoosa
Ponganalu

Bajji and Bondaalu or Punukulu- with spicy dips (allam pachadi)

  • Vamu Bajji
  • Vankaya Bajji
  • Aratikaya Bajji
  • Urla Gadda Bajji
  • Mirapakaya Bajji – a local variety of extra-hot chilies stuffed with spices and dipped in chickpea batter and fried.

Urla Gadda Bonda
Vegetable Bonda
Pakodi 

  • Ulli Kaadalu Pakodi
  • Sanna Pakodi
  • Vankaya Pakodi
  • Royallu Pakodi
  • Kodi Pakodi
  • Ullipakodi – fritters made with sliced onion and spices in chickpea batter

Gaare – Gaares are a deep fried and spiced dough.

  • Perugu gaare/Aavadalu – Gaare are marinated in a yogurt sauce.
  • Bellam Garelu
  • Rava Garelu
  • Ulli Garelu
  • Pulla Garelu
  • Ring Chips

Murukullu orJantikalu
Pesarapappu Jantikalu
Challa Murukulu
Chegodilu
Sakinalu or Chakkiralu
Chakli
Chekkalu or Chuppulu
Maida Chips
Colocasia Chips
Plain papadam
Aam papad

Maramaraalu or Popped Rice

Usually mixed with tomatoes, onions, coriander and lime juice and added with salt and chilli powder, mixed thoroughly and served

Bean/Pea Snacks

  • Senagala Talimpu
  • Guggillu

Sweets and Savouries

Sweets and Savouries form an important part of Telugu culture. Made on festive and auspicous occasions, they are also gifted to visiting relatives. Some of the savouries are also made for evening snack.

Chekodi

  • Sunnundallu – Laddu made from with roasted Urad Dal (Minapappu) and Jaggery (Bellam)
  • Telangana sakinalu – Crispy snack made from rice flour and seasame.Made especially during Telugu festival Sankranti.
  • Boondi Laddu
  • Poornalu or Boorelu
  • Rava Laddu
  • Bhakshalu or Bobbatlu or Polelu
  • Ariselu
  • Kakinada Khaja
  • Payasam
  • Gavvalu
  • Chakodi
  • Telangana Garjalu
  • Chakkera pongali (sugar pongal)
  • Laskora Undalu (coconut laddu) or Raskora Undalu (coconut laddu)
  • Boondi
  • Palathalikalu
  • Ravva Kesari
  • Pappuchekka
  • Jeedilu
  • Kobbari Lavuju
  • Pootharekulu
  • Vennappalu




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Karadaiyan Nonbu in South India and Karva Chauth in North India!

Tying saradu Mother-in law tyng the Karadaiyan  Nonbu Saradu for her daugher-in-law

Karadaiyan Nombu in South India, is also called ‘Savithri Vratham’ and is the most important festival for married women in South India, the Tamil Brahmins. This  fast  was maintained by Savithri for her husband Satyavan, who was  to be whisked away by God of Death, Lord Yama! It is believed that the lady was so deeply devoted and loyal to her husband that she could pray and fast for her husband right amid the woods, and, and retrieve her husband from  the merciless clutches of Lord Yama! The first day of the month of ‘Panguni’ after the month of ‘Masi’ usually on  14th March of every year, is observed as this Vratham or Karadaiyan Nonbu. The word ‘Karadaiyan’  is derived from the naivedyam offered in prayer, first eaten and then served to their husbands, by married women. The sweet and salted versions are called ‘Thithippu  Karadai’ (sweet version)  and ‘Uppadai’  ( the salted version) .

karva chauth blog lady Karva Chauth fasting by  Radha

Karva Chouth in North India is akin to Karadaiyan Nonbu in South India: Similar to Karadaiyan Nonbu in South India, there is a fasting festival for all married women in North India, very popular and of great significance in UP< Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Haryana and Punjab. The only difference being the month that it is celebrated and the fasting time and method by the women. While in South India on ‘Karadaiyan Nonbu’ the married women fast, for the longevity of their husbands, till the  time for puja (  may be anytime as stipulated by the pujari or pandit), and can comfortably  have liquids or milk or tea, not so strictly followed like the North Indian women ; the North Indian women fast for the longevity of their husbands from sunrise to moonrise, without even drop of water!

V0045106 Savitrī pleading with Yama for her husband, Satya Savithri asks God of Death Lord Yama to spare  Satyavan

 Savithri  Satyavan story and Karadaiyan nonbu: Impressed by the Piety, dedication, and exemplary oratory skills of Savithri a beautiful and accomplished woman, Lord Yama offered her three boons and she cleverly asked for restoring the eyesight of her blind father-in-law, a Hundred sons to her father, and a Hundred sons to her, by her husband Satayavan, who was to die 3 days after their marriage, thus tactfully got her husband back, with strict fasting and prayers.
Karadaiyan Nonbu fasting in South India: Is observed at a particular time on that day, which has to be religiously followed by all the Tami Brahmin married ladies. The unmarried girls too pray for getting good husbands. Fasting is observed by married women, not spinsters.

karamani Karamani symbolic of Savithri’s fasting in the woods

Karadai and Karamani in Karadaiyan Nonbu:  The sweet and salted version of Karadai or the Prasadam or the only meal Item for the ladies who observe the Fast or Vratham, is made from rice flour, jaggery , cardamoms and chopped coconut pieces, while the salted version is made with rice flour, coconut, asafetida and chillies and curry leaves.

Coconut cut pieces Karadai blog Coconut pieces in Karadai for Karadaiyan Nonbu

The most Important Ingredient in Karadai is the herb called ‘Karamani’ a red lentil that is symbolic of Savithri’s fasting in the woods, where herbs are aplenty.

Velladai Sweet karadai, with jaggery and butter at the center            uppadai Uppadai or Salted version of karadai

Adai naivedyam

Karadaiyan Nonbu Naivedyam : Besides Karadais, the fasting Naivedyam on ‘Karadaiyan Nonbu’ also consists of white unsalted butter, Vetrilai ( betel leaves), Pakku ( supari), pazham ( bananas) and coconut.

Karva chauth mehendi North Indian lady all decked up on Karva Chauth day!

Ritual differences in Karadaiyan  Nonbu in  South India  and Karva Chauth in North India: In North India ,the married women eat early in the morning before sunrise and the special meal or sweet dishes are usually made by the mother in law , they bathe and pray and wear bright red saris wear jewelry apply  mehendi or henna in their hands, and thereafter, do not even drink water, till they see the moon. UP the ladies take milk, sugar etc in the  morning so they can withstand thirst all day
Sargi 1 Cashews, lamp and silk dupatta Sargi for Karva Chauth
Sargi 2 Sargi for Karva Chauth milk, sweets and lamp

The plate that is to be taken for evening puja before the moon appears is called ‘Sargi’ in Punjab and in. The puja plate usually has a lamp, sweets and some dry fruits and fruits, once the moon is spotted the fast is broken by consuming water fed by the husbands,  and some sweet given to regain lost energy.

In South India, on Karadaiyan Nonbu day,  the women bathe and adorn themselves in silk saris ,  some in Madisar or nine yards, wear jewelry  and bangles, and mehendi application is more optional. They do the puja at the time specified by the solar calendar, pray for the longevity of their husbands, offer the naivedyam to Goddess Kamakshi Amman,

Kamakshi amman blog Goddess Kamakshi Amman Karadaiyan nombu blog pic 1 karadai placed with butter and Nonbu saradu on plantain leaves
wear the yellow thread with jasmine slung at the center, around their necks as if newly married, and eat the  hot karadais with butter melting on them ,all placed on a plantain leaf… While wearing the  ‘Nonbu Charadu’ or the yellow thread,  they chant the following  ‘Urugadha Vennayam oru adayum vaithu nonbu notren oru nallum en kanavar piriyamal iruka vendum’ which translates thus ‘Just like the melting butter over steaming adais, the woman and her husband must remain bonded for life, inseparable!’

Karva Chauth in North India – the name: ‘Karva’ means pot , and Chauth ( means fourth in Hindi), which is observed on the fourth day of the dark days after full moon day or Poornima. The women pour water from the pot ( Karva) into the soil and do puja and then using a sieve they see the moon and the faces of their husbands through it.
karva chauth moon
North Indian ladies look the moon through the sieve on Karva Chauth

The women then enjoy singing and eating a sumptuous meal with an elaborate menu along with their families.

The beginning of Karadaiyan Nonbu, in South India, yellow thread at a marriage hall : The first time a  woman wears the  yellow thread is when she first gets married at a hall, amid Vedic  chanting and music, and blessings of all, when her groom ties the thread around her neck.

This can be witnessed at any South Indian Wedding, at any  of the Kalyana Mandapams or halls in Chennai.
The spirit and essence of Karadaiyan Nonbu and Karva Chauth is one: Fasting by married women for the welfare and longevity of their husbands.

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Saptapadi or Seven steps in Hindu marriage!

Saptapadi or Seven steps in Hindu marriage!

Holding hands in saptapadi

Saptapadi or  seven steps is the most important rite of a Hindu marriage ceremony. The word Saptapadi means “Seven steps”. After tying the Mangalsutra, the newly wed couple take seven steps around the holy fire, that is called Saptapadi.

In a Hindu marriage , the most Important rite is the tying of the Thali or Mangalsutra, by the groom around the neck of the bride, but the marriage is incomplete without the ‘Saptapadi’ or ‘Seven steps’!

Round the fire
The Seven Steps and their significance:

  • With the first step , the couple invokes the Gods for plentitude of food.
  • With the second step , the couple prays to the Gods to give them both mental and physical strength and a healthy life free from ailments.
  • The third step is for the fulfilment of spiritual obligation for the couple and for the successful performance of their spiritual duties.
  • The fourth step is for the attainment of happiness in all walks of life.
  • The fifth step is to pray for the welfare of all living entities in the entire Universe.
  • The sixth step is for bountiful seasons all over the world.

The seventh step is taken invoking the prayer and sacrifice for universal peace.

The variations in Sapdapadi or Seven steps: During  Saptapadi or seven steps, some communities, the groom holds only the little finger , while taking his bride round the fire seven times, in gentle steps, in still others, he holds her right hand cupped fingers all together. The most sacred and critical Seven Steps.

Husband and wife only after the Sapdapadi: The man and woman who tie the knot, are declared husband and wife, only on completion of the ‘Saptapadi’ or ‘Seven steps’.

The sentimental and deep values of Sapdapadi  in Hindu marriage: When a wedded couple takes the seven steps or rounds holding each other’s hands firmly, around the fire, they not only evoke the Almighty’s blessings and pray for each other ‘s health and well-being, they pray for their families, and the whole Universe. The ritual embraces all the elements of nature, fire, water and seasons, spirituality and universal peace.

The Implied elements of true partnership in ‘Saptapadi’: The couple during Sapdapadi, agrees to be with each other in times of pain and pleasure respect each other’s likes and dislikes, family values. The partners agree to be perfect companions through all walks of life.

The Saath pheras or seven steps in the North: The North Indian weddings have a similar , very Important ritual where the couple goes around the fire seven times, called ‘Saath Pheras’ Or ‘Seven rounds’ where they pledge to be with each other in all times of pleasure and difficulties, not quarrel and part ways, also pray for their families. The difference in the North Indian customs is that the ‘Dupatta’ or the bride’s head cover, is tied to the Dupatta of the groom and they walk in close proximity around the Agni or fire. The priest or pundit chants very effective mantras as they go round the fire.

Saath pheras blog
Saptapadi followed by Metti or toe-ring slipping: This most important rite of a Hindu marriage is followed by the groom bending down, lifting his wife’s feet one by one,  and slipping the silver toe-ring (another symbol of marriage), into her second toe of each feet.

Metti saptapadi blog

The essence remains the same in Saat Pheras and Saptapadi: Whatever be the differences in rituals between a North Indian Hindu wedding and a South Indian Hindu wedding the essence of ‘Saat Pheras’ and ‘Sapdapadi or Seven steps’ is one and the same evoking blessings for the well -being of the couple, their families and the whole Universe.

Mangalasutra designs in South India

Mangalasutra designs in South India

Coorgi MangalsutraIyer and Iyengar Thaali

‘The sacred knot’ or the Mangala Sutra, also known in the South as ‘Thaali’ is the most Important symbol of an Indian  married woman in the North, West, East and most significantly South India, in both Brahmin and non-brahmin weddings. While the toe-rings, the red sacred powder, ‘Kumkum’ also are equally Important, the sacred thread or chain called ‘Mangala Sutra’ is the one that actually transforms the hitherto ‘Single’ status of the girl to a ‘Married woman’ or ‘wife’ of someone’!

Marathi MangalsutraMushti Kanti Mangalore

We normally refer to a wedding like this ‘The two have decided to tie the knot’ figuratively it refers to the sacred bonding for Life, together in pain and pleasure, in disease and well-being. Specifically though the turmeric dipped sacred ‘Thaali’  (in the South), is the first , sentimental , Vedic-rich Intimate touch  of the groom and the bride, when normally, the bride’s father gives away the bride in holy matrimony, to the man who becomes her husband, her partner and protector , for Life! This ritual is called ‘Kanyadan’ or ‘Kanyadaanam’ ( Tamil), which means giving away the daughter by the father. At weddings, especially in the South, it is the most awaited moment, by the bride’s parents, groom ‘s parents, as well as all the kith and kin present at the wedding Hall. The moment of hysteric and feverish excitement, with tears welling the eyes of the bride’ s mother , her close friends, and the bride herself are worth a watch! also there is a drastic twist in the note played by the musicians on the Nadaswaram, the beats  on the accompanying pair of drums ( called the ‘Thavil) have a particular moment of loudness ( as signalled by the Pundit or Poojari or the vadiyar who conducts the rituals). And yes! it has been tied around the bejeweled and heavily garlanded neck of the bride, and everyone is clapping, wishing each other, congratulations pouring from all the sides , and well-wishers and elders sprinkle rice grains soaked in haldi, or turmeric and Vermilon ( Kumkum or red sacred powder), to offer their love, blessings to the newly wed couple! Soon after the three knots are tied ( In  Brahmin Weddings, the first knot is tied by the groom and the rest 2 are tied by the sisters of the groom , further strengthening the bond with the new addition to their family). If the groom has one sister, she ties both the knots, and if he has two sisters they share the remaining two. If the groom is a single child with no siblings, then his cousin sisters get the right to tie the remaining knots!

Syrian Christian thaliTelugu Thaali

Soon after the thread with a holy pendant in gold ( the thaali) is tied, the groom puts around his brand new wife’s neck , yet another gold thaali where the chain is in pure gold with some opting for traditional designs, and others going for fashionable patterns of the chain, but the pendent or the locket remains the same for each caste conforming to its specifications! It is Indeed Interesting to understand and examine the differences in the Mangala Sutra patterns of different regions across India!

Before we examine the differences in the designs, it is critical to understand the Importance of ‘The Mangala Sutra’ or ‘Thaali’
Thaali being tied

The phrase ‘three knot tie’ literally means’ ‘an auspicious thread which is knotted around the bride’s neck’. It is usually a gold pendant strung from a yellow thread prepared with turmeric, a string of black beads or simply a gold chain. It is comparable to the wedding ring of the West. A married woman is expected to wear this thread and is the most important part of a Hindu marriage ceremony.

It is called Mangala Sutra in Maharashtra, தாலி (thaali) in Tamil, ತಾಳಿ (thaali) or ಮಾಂಗಲ್ಯ (Mangalyasutra) in Kannada and thaali (తాళి), maangalyamu (మాంగళ్యము), Mangalasutramu (మంగళసూత్రము) or pustelu (పుస్తెలు) in Telugu. Konkanis (Goansand others) wear three necklaces around their necks referred to as “Dhaaremani” or “Muhurtmani” (big golden bead), “Mangalasutra” with one or two gold discs and “Kasithaali” with gold and coral beads. In Malayalam it is simply referred to as “Thaali” in general and “Minnu” by Syrian Christians.

A ‘Thaali’ ( or “Minnu”) is also worn by the brides of Kerala’s Syrian Christian community. An engraving of the holy spirit is a distinguishing feature of the Syrian Christian Minnu. According to tradition, the families of the bride and the bridegroom contribute a piece of gold and melt it with the help of the family goldsmith. This is then used to make the rest of the necklace. The process of tying is assisted by a sister of the groom, as it is with other Hindu communities. During the wedding ceremony, the Minnu is held on and tied using a braided thread made by twisting together seven threads taken from the Manthrakodi (wedding saree).

The practice of wearing a mangala sutra is mainly followed in western Indian and south Indian states.
The Kashmiri Pandits have the distinction of being one of the few Hindu communities that does not have the Thaali as part of its wedding ritual.

Adi Shankara and Mangala Sutra

In his  famous book Soundarya Lahari  Adi Shankara has mentioned that as per Hindu cultural ethos, the Mangala sutra symbolizes the inseparable bond between a husband and a wife. During the wedding ceremony, the bridegroom ties the Mangala sutra to the neck of the bride uttering- “May you live long by wearing this sacred Mangal sutra, the reason of my life”. Married women are entitled to wear a Mangala sutra throughout their life as it is believed that the practice enhances the well-being of her husband and family. It is also believed that the Mangala sutra protects the marriage from any evil. Three knots symbolize three different aspects of a married woman – the first knot represents her obedience to her husband, the second to his parents and the third represents her respect for God.

Design Variations in Mangala Sutra region-wise: It is very Interesting to see the differences in the design patterns of Mangala Sutra chains across our country. While the Maharashtrian ‘Thaali’ or ‘Mangal Sutra’ is Intricately woven around black beads, and has two gold Inverted cups with  pinkish or red tiny stones on them at the centre , as a locket ( with the chain of varying length as per Individual choice), the South Indian Brahmin Thaali’ in Iyers  (followers of Lord Shiva), has a ‘Shivalingam’ on one said of the dome shaped pendant, and  next to it the figure of Madurai Meenakshi amman or goddess who symbolizes a perfect and holy matrimony with her husband Lord Sundareswarar, and in Vaishnavites or the Iyengars the dome shaped pendant is the same, but has the figurines of  ‘Sangu’ ( conch shell) and ‘Chakram’ ( the wheel), these symbolize the elegant arms of Lord Vishnu, and also has Goddess Lakshmi who is his wife.  The Chettiars are a Shaivite sect of merchants in Tamil Nadu, the central pendant (thaali) depicts Shiva with his consort Parvati.  The Mangalorean ‘Thaali’  has most definitely black beads woven on a gold chain and is alternated with either rounded or oval shaped Corals ( red, precious beads). The ‘Thaali ‘ of the Karnataka brides is similar with black beads and gold with a pendant, and may either have corals or not. The ‘Karnataka’ Mangal Sutra of the Smartha and Madhwa Brahmins bear a striking resemblance to the Maharashtrian Thaali,  since  Pandharpur, Belgaum, etc are on Maharashtra border, so  most customs are similar, like the  green glass bangles, along with her gold bangles, worn  by the bride on the wedding day. The ‘Coorgi’ thaali is very very majestic and typical band-like chain with huge rounded beads that symbolize the ‘Malanad  or Kodagu Warrior ‘ community.  The Thaali is called ‘Pathaak’ and it is tied by the bride’s mother around the bride’s neck. The Kerala bride usually wears a simple ‘Thaali’ in gold with a tiny leaf as its pendant, and the figurine of baby Krishna at the center ( Krishna is the undisputed Lord for the Keralites). The Syrian Christians of  Kerala also adorn a thaali besides the wedding ring, but with a cross at the center.

The essence of Mangala Sutra or Thaali:  Whatever be the design or figurines Inscribed on the sacred chain worn by a bride on her wedding day, called the ‘Mangala Sutra’ or ‘Thaali’ the underlying essence is the bonding of the bride  with her spouse for life, in the best or worst situation.
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Top Marriage Halls In Chennai

Best Marriage Halls in Chennai

Chennai has become a major hub for grand and expensive marriages these days. Be it in a banquet hall or a farm house, [Click here for some of the best halls in the city] South Indians have developed a flair for wedding celebrations. Chennaihalls.in has come up with a brief about some of the well known and best marriage halls in Chennai.

Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace

Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace is one of the largest marriage halls in Chennai with a 50,000 sqft area. The hall is equipped with centralized A/C and other state of the art facilities where a variety of events can take place like trade fairs, exhibits, corporate parties and weddings. The dining hall is split into two which can accommodate 700 guests at a time.

Largest parking facility in Chennai

The most surprising a rarest facility here in Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace is the car parking facility with 1000 car park spaces. The weddings hall is surrounded by breathtaking landscape with a large fountain and greenery. Weddings with buffet arrangement can utilize the large lawn for a sumptuous spread of feast.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

Generator power supply for undisrupted celebrations! The hall is equipped with CCTVs for 24/7 surveillance.

Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Mandapam ( MRC Hall )

MRC Mandapam located in RA Puram, one of the best marriage halls in Chennai
MRC Hall located in RA Puram

Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall is one of the star studded marriage halls in Chennai. The hall is equipped with state of the art facilities like sound system, projectors and centralized air conditioning. Valet parking is available upon request and a car park space of approx 300 and above is available. The property has two halls, one bigger than the other.

Luxurious facilities

Both have huge dining areas. Along with the hall, the property offers 6 rooms for the bride and groom’s family upon request. All the rooms are luxurious and maintained well.

Personal security for the bride and groom

The speciality in this marriage hall in Chennai, is that they provide security personnel for the bride and the groom! Location is key. Situated in one of the finest areas in Chennai, your guests will be pleased to attend your wedding!





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Sit-down Meal or Buffet Style

The importance of food in a wedding

Indian weddings have special affinity towards food and like our elders say “The most remembered aspect of the wedding is FOOD and only then come the bride and groom”. Therefore it is vital for you as a couple to decide upon what kind of food, the seating and arrangements that will be required before fixing the wedding venue.

Sit-down Meal or Buffet Style

Its an age old debate as to what kind of food arrangement needs to be put up in Indian weddings. However, the influence of the west has made this decision less complicated. Many Indian families opt for buffet system as it may seem hassle-free and comfortable. But let us get a lil deeper into this topic so that you can decide for yourself as to what you want in your wedding.

The food arrangement, be it buffet or dining, it has to have both the couples’ taste and favourites. This way there is no difference in opinion and everyone is happy!

The sit and dine style has been in Indian weddings ever since its inception. It is traditional and a formal affair. The menu is preset and serving staff serve this menu to all the guests seated. Usually, the food is served on plantain leaf to enjoy the food’s taste to its fullest. Nevertheless, nowadays, faux plantain leaves and disposables are available for more durability. This style of seating requires long term planning and proper set up at the wedding venue.

The advantages of the traditional sit and dine style

This style is definitely more traditional. Many elders prefer this style of eating as they don’t have to wait for their turn in long line ups. The food is served to them just like at home.

Because the menu is preset, the guest don’t have to worry about what they have to eat next. Everything is already decided for them.

This type of food arrangement allows the caterers to manage the guests accordingly as the food is served to many guests at the same time. This way the reception takes place without any hassle.

The disadvantages of the traditional sit and dine style

The traditional dining style could work out to be a little expensive. The venue decision depends on this as it has to accommodate this type of food arrangement. Some venues might not have a large enough kitchen to serve dine-in.

Serving staff need to be on their heels to serve every guest promptly. Also, the serving staff will be more in number when compared to buffet.

There is no much choice of food for the guests as the menu is preset. Therefore, there are chances of wastage. Some people might get served everything but will prefer eating only less.Therefore a lot of food could get wasted.

Buffet Style

This type of food arrangement has been a recent addition to Indian weddings, inspired from the west. This style of food serving allows the guests to serve their favourite food item from the menu on their own or with the help of a serving staff. This provides more of a casual feel to the wedding and can adapt to any style of wedding be it a Muslim wedding, Christian or Hindu.

The advantages of the buffet style

This style of food arrangement can be cost effective if you choose to hire necessary number of serving staff.

A buffet system has less chance of food wastage as the guests get to choose what they want rather than give them a preset menu.

The options are wide open. The couple can choose the menu according to both their taste and incorporate both their favourite dishes in the menu.You can have two entrees, three appetizers, two mains and various desserts. This way the menu has more options and guests get to taste a little of everything.

The disadvantages of the buffet style

The cost really depends on the type of food you choose. Expensive food is always expensive no matter how much you try to cut down the cost, especially if you variety to the menu.

Elders and physically challenged people might find it difficult to eat while constantly holding the plates in their hands. A special arrangement has to be done for them.

If you have invited too many people and their plus ones have rocketed beyond the roof, there might not be adequate food to serve. Especially if the craters are bring the food from elsewhere. You don’t want unhappy guests, do you?

 Indian weddings are very particular about the food served as that is one aspect everyone remembers. No matter how grand the wedding is, if the food goes wrong, people can’t keep shut about it for years to come. So keep a watchful eye before deciding what kind of food arrangement you want at your wedding and make sure you taste the food before hiring the caterer!

The Vedic Traditions In A Brahmin Wedding – Part 1

A Brahmin Wedding in Detail

This is a start of a series where we give you a detailed overview of a typical 3 day Brahmin Wedding.This article intends to throw light on the vedic ceremonies of a Hindu wedding.

Weddings in the Puranas

Although there are many references in the Hindu traditions including the Sthala Puranas, the most important vedic process comes from the most celebrated, the Andal – Ranganathan, Shivan – Parvathi and Rama – Sita  wedding from the Hindu epics. According to the epic Nacchiyar Thirumozhi, Andal dreams about Lord Ranganathan/Vishnu in holy matrimony. Ranganathan then seeks the permission of Andal’s father Periyalvar to marry his daughter and with immense joy. They are bonded together in marriage with a prolonged vedic process. This vedic process is detailed in the Varanam Ayiram section of Nacchiyar Thirumozhi.

The Brahmin Wedding Rituals

Below is the explanation for each steps performed in a Vedic wedding and the significance.

1. Vaakku Dhaanam

This is the first and foremost step in the wedding process where the groom or the Brahmachari sends two well-read elders from his family to the house of the Bride. The elders approach the Bride’s father and explain the groom’s wish to marry his daughter. During this process two important mantras are chanted, one that asks the elders to bring back good news of acceptance from the Bride’s father and the second mantra prays for the safe return of the elders from the father’s house. These mantras plead for a harmonious and prosperous from the Lords Bhaga and Aryama.

Once this process is complete, the father happily acknowledges the brahmachari’s request and accepts to the marriage.

In present day brahmin weddings, this event is popularly known as Nichayathartham where elders from both the bride and groom’s family meet and exchange their “Vaaku” or promise to marry their son and daughter with whole heart and happiness. The pandit reads out a paper or the “Pathram” which tells everyone gathered that the wedding is set for a date  with ancestral blessings and family acceptance. Once this is done, the family exchanges gifts to welcome one another to their family. The Nichayathartham is an important ceremony in most south Indian weddings, however, this ceremony is also held months before the wedding to suit present situations and traditions.

2.  Kanyaa Dhaanam – Giving away the daughter

Yet another vedic ceremony that is often seen in Hindu weddings is the Kanyaa Dhaanam. This originated from the vedic epics where Lakshmi was given in holy matrimony to Lord Vishnu by her father and Lord Vishnu in total happiness accepts and promises to take care of his daughter as he did.

In today’s Hindu wedding, the bride is made to sit on her father’s lap, facing east with her mother stand on the right side. The father hold his daughter palms with tamboola and coconut. The groom stands opposite to the father and hold the brides palm and the father slowly transfers the tamboola to the groom’s palms. This symbolises that the daughter is now rightfully given to the groom. This is also known as” Dhaaravathu Kodukkal”. During this ceremony mantras are chanted by both the bride’s father and the groom. Kanyaa Dhaanam, Giving away the daughter

3. Agni Prasthithapam – Raising of Fire

Fire has been an elixir of life since the existence of mankind. The role of fire in hindu weddings is compared with that of the sun. In olden days, fire was obtained by the only method of churning wood or rubbing it against each other. Because this played a vital role in a household, the man of the family took in charge of bringing a home the necessary fire and maintaining it for eternity. Thus in today’s weddings this holy ritual is of lighting the new fire in the homam is done by the groom with the help of the pandit.Agni Prasthithapam, Raising of fire The fire is lit using Ghee or clarified butter, and wooden sticks.  This symbolises that the groom will take care of the essentials in making a home and will provide for his wife till eternity. In north Indian weddings the bride and the groom walk around the fire seven times thus worshipping it. In south Indian weddings, the bride and the groom walk three times around the homam, with the end of the bride’s saree tied to the end of the groom’s dhoti. This symbolises their bond of togetherness and this bond is witnessed by the god of fire, Agni.

The above mentioned vedic ceremonies are performed before the actual marriage happens and that is known as Mangalya Dharanam. Await more insights on this in the Part 2 of this series.

Plantain tree as wedding decoration

Why place two plantain trees at south indian weddings?

Importance of celebrating with plantain trees at weddings

Plantain tree as wedding decoration

Plantain tree of many uses

It is a universal fact that a plantain tree has more than one purpose in itself. The stem of the tree is used for consumption and medicinal values, the florets of the tree is used for making oil and as herbal medicine, the plantains are consumed all over the world, the leaves of the tree is usually used in south-east Asia as a food plate and also used for wrapping food, and the list goes on! This plant provides the world so much that it has been a vital component in  every generations till date. Be it the Mesopotamians or the Indus valley civilization, the role of banana trees have been immense.

But, why plantain tree at the marriage?

One could ask what does a plantain tree got to do with marriages. According to Hindu tradition, two plantain trees are tied to the entrance of every wedding venue to symbolize that, like the plantain tree that is evergreen and ever providing, the bride and groom will be blessed with all the prosperity and will provide well for the generations to come. This is remind the couple that they need to learn to give and expect nothing in return, just like the plantain trees.

Invoking longevity with the plantain tree

In many Hindu weddings, especially south Indian, the banana or plantain tree is worshipped by married women during the course of the wedding. This is to emphasise on the fact that the tree is evergreen and thus blessing the to be married couple all the auspicious prosperity in life. This is known as Pandhakaal. In this pre-wedding ceremony the plantain tree is worshipped, followed by a pooja where the bride touches the plantain and prays for eternal happiness and prosperity for all the future generations. The Pandhakaal is a very prominent and important ceremony in most South Indian weddings, though, not so much in Brahmin weddings. Once the Pandhakkaal pooja  is done, the plantain tree is tied to the gatepost of the  venue or the bride’s home.  However, in Chennai, now a days, this ceremony has become almost a luxury. The cost of two plantain trees have increased up to Rs 5000! However, no matter what the wedding budget is, Hindus never fail to incorporate this ceremony in their weddings.

So the next time you witness this ceremony, you sure will know its importance and will have a chance to educate someone who is ignorant about this!

Halls Chennai, for functions, Online Booking, Real-time Availability

Halls in Chennai, Online Booking, Real-time Availability

Caladium Systems recently launched its portal, www.chennaihalls.in, for the benefit of the citizens of Chennai. It is an effort to bring all the 1000 odd halls in Chennai, mini halls, party halls. banquet halls and marriage halls (kalyana mandapams) put together. ChennaiHalls.in was soft-launched on the 3rd of June, 2013.

Halls Chennai, Online Availability and Instant Booking

marriage Halls in ChennaiAHAA or Automated Hall Availability and Administration is a unique place on the world wide web. Here, you are clear of the hassle of booking your hall, for whatever purpose.

Real-time availability information of all the member halls, is a special feature. Booking your favourite hall is now as easy as ABC. Check for Availability of your hall, Book your hall by paying an advance amount, Confirm your hall by paying the remaining amount at the property.

Types of Hall in the inventory

Marriage halls in Chennai

Over 150 marriage halls in Chennai city are covered by Chennaihalls.in. This includes marriage halls ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs,10,00,000 per day. Marriage halls in Chennai, which can accommodate from 100 to over 5000 people are included in the online marriage hall booking facility.

Mini halls in Chennai

Small functions, betrothal, upanayanam, shastiabdhapoorthi and so on do not need the elaborate facilities and infrastructure of large marriage halls. To accommodate small events, Chennai Halls have enrolled over 50 mini halls in Chennai. Celebrate in grand choice, with online booking and real-time availability, covering all four corners of the grand old city.

Banquet halls in Chennai

When your celebration requires that extra dose of grandeur, you have the luxury of choosing from over 150 banquet halls in Chennai, based on your intention and on the size of the hole you are willing to burn on your pocket. A wide variety of banquet halls, with delicious mouth watering menus on the cards, with the choicest vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, all that can be decided from the comfort of your living room. This facility only available with Chennai Halls, where you instantly block your preferred dates and get preferential treatment from the hosts.

Party Halls in Chennai

Choose from over 50 listed party halls in Chennai from preferred place for booking birthday parties, get-togethers, farewell parties, re-unions etc. Chennai Halls’ member party halls offer the place along-with lip-smacking and a wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. For a capacity of about 25-75 persons, these kind of party halls are the perfect destination for all the short parties that you wish to celebrate.

Air-conditioned Halls in Chennai

Air-conditioned marriage halls, mini halls, party halls and banquet halls are also part of the bouquet of Chennai Halls. Over 150 air-conditioned halls in Chennai are included for the discerning customer, mindful of the comfort of their guests in the bustling heat of Chennai.

Marriage services vendor directory

In any occasion, food plays a major part. Chennai Halls has an installed marriage services directory, which includes a preferred list of caterers, known for their quality and service. The list also includes vendors for the entire range of requirements, such as mehandi design, make over, chariot, floral decoration, bands and so on, all chosen carefully based on user feedback to facilitate customer satisfaction.

We encourage you to visit ChennaiHalls.in, choose your preferred dates, from your favourite halls in Chennai, select your preferred vendors and celebrate your function without the hassle.





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