Though Sikhs follow several Punjabi marriage customs, their rites are performed through Anand Karaj. According to popular tradition, the Anand form of marriage was popularized by Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru, who composed the hymns called lavan for the purpose of solemnising Sikh weddings. The Anand form of marriage got legal sanction through the passage of the Anand Marriage Bill in the Imperial Legislative Council in 1909.
After fixing a suitable match negotiation are finalized through a simple ceremony called roka, which is performed in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib. Thereafter, a suitable date for marriage is fixed. Generally a day before the marriage, engagement and ring ceremonies are also performed.
According to Sikh rehat maryada, the Anand Karaj is supposed to be performed during a simple ceremony in the ambrosial hours after kirtan of Asa di Var. In actual practice, however, most of the Anand Karaj ceremonies are performed a little before lunch-time. After offering ardaas, the groom and the bride circumambulate the Guru Granth Sahib in a clockwise direction. This is done four times with the priest reading the lavan from the Guru Granth Sahib and the ragi jatha repeating each lavan set to music. The wedding ceremony concludes with the singing of first five and last stanzas of Anand followed by ardaas. Hukam is then taken by the granthi from the Guru Granth Sahib by opening it at random. Thereafter the congregation is served the karah Prasad with which a Sikh wedding is concluded.
Through text based on Gurbani and popular tradition, the book tries to capture the spirit of the Sikh wedding through colourful pictures of various ceremonies connected with the wedding.
Dr. Mohinder Singh, an eminent historian and Director of the National Institute of Punjab Studies, New Delhi, has provided text for the book, while pictures have been taken by sondeep Shankar, one of India's leading photographers.
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