THE CUSTOMS # KUMAUN # Uttarakhand India

The Kumauni Wedding

In Kumaun Dev-Vivah or Brahma-Vivah is prevalent. In this form of ceremony, the parents and the priest play the central role. Marriage ceremony in Kumaun is very elaborate affair and the main events are:  

Ganesh puja & Suwal Pathai: On this day Ganesh puja is done followed by dolls of Samdhi & Samdhan which are made using Til, Rice Flour and Jagger which are later put in a small basket and decorated and are exchanged on the day of marriage. 

Large Papads are made of flour, dried in the sun and later fried which are called Suwale which are also exchanged along with sweets on the day of marriage. During all this festivities ,Rangwali/Pichora which is a big piece of cloth which is used as a Duppata and worn by the bride, her mother and all her female relatives, similarly it is worn by the grooms mother and his female relatives. Yellow cloth is used for rangwali. Small red spots are made on it by using home made vegetable dyes and later it is dried in the sun.

Purwang: This is celebrated in the morning of the marriage day. Parents of the bride keep fast, puja is done. Later the bridegroom’s family bring the Ubtan (which is a mixture of Flour, Turmeric powder, Rye seeds, Other traditional herbs and oil) used by the groom for his bath. All female relatives take turns to put this paste of Ubtan on the bride’s body. Later she is given a bath and the groom is similarly given a traditional bath.

Barat#The Marriage Procession: Grooms sister in laws and other female relatives decorate his eyes with black Khol. The groom is then given a traditional send-off while all female sing typical folk songs meant for this occasions.

Dhuliargh: When the marriage party reaches the brides house, the bride’s brother receives him and uses a red umbrella to escort him to the spot where the marriage ceremonies are to take place where the bride’s father washes his feet as also the feet of the Brahmin who has come with the groom’s party and both side exchange gifts.

Kanyadan: During this ceremony both parties sit side by side and a small makeshift curtain separates the bride and the broom. Brahmins from both the sides conduct the marriage ceremony by chanting traditional Sanskrit chants. The bride’s father gives his daughter hand to the groom. Later the whole ceremony is finished and the groom puts the red roli on the Mang or hair parting of the bride. The girl is now deemed to have been married. 

Vidaai: The groom along with her bride,proceed to the his home.These are the customs of a kumauni wedding.  


Jagar#Sanskrit root#Jaga (meaning to wake)

  • Jagar is the cultural and musical heritage of Uttarakhand practiced in both Kumaon and Garhwal regions. Each village has its own God (Bhoomial Devta) and each family has its Kul Devta. The word Jagar comes from the Sanskrit root, Jaga (meaning to wake).
  • Jagar is a medium or way in which Gods and local deities are called or waked from their dormant stage and asked for favours or remedies for certain problems plaguing the person. It’s form of prayer, organised to seek justice/punishment from the Gods in the wake of injustice or crime. Jagar (the Dev Jagar) is the invocation of a God, usually local Gods in the body of the medium (called Dangariya). A sacred fire is lit, the Jagariya (main lead) sings the ballads of Gods and leads the rituals, and two or more people who assist him and sing along in chorus.
  • Behind the performance of Jagar is the deep-seated belief of the people of Uttarakhand in divine justice and the Law of Karma – that bad deeds shall be accounted for and that justice will finally be delivered by the Gods.

Choliya # The Martial dance


  • Choliya is one of the most popular dance forms of the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, which has men dancing ,dressed as sword and shield bearing warriors. 
  • 'Chhaliya' or Choliya is basically associated with wars and displays the art of winning a battle using deceit as the primary weapon.
  • This sword dance has a history of about thousand years dating back to the reign of Chand Kings. The dance display of mock battle and valour of the warriors is nowadays a highlight of Kumauni marriage festivities.
  • It is popular in the districts of Pithoragarh, Champawat, Bageshwar and Almora of Kumaun division and has even spread to the Garhwal division.
  • The dancers carry equipment's such as a pair of swords and shields, regional brass instruments like 'Turi' and 'Ransing', percussion instruments like dhol and 'damau' and 'Masakbeen' or Bagpiper.
  • The attire of the dancers is inspired from ancient Kumaun warriors. It is  a combination of Churidar Pajama and long frock with white,blue red yellow coloured headwear. The dancers' face covered with sandal wood paste as if ready for battle equipped with swords and brass shields.
  • Choliya dance comprises synchronised jumps and turns of the body ,various fighting manoeuvres and battle formations.
  • Such graceful display of mock fighting accompanied by war like music and intense expressions, is believed to be auspicious and protect the newly wed from evil.

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