Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kinnaur-The Typical Marriage Ceremonies

The Bride of Kinnaur
The district of Kinnaur is a part of the State of Himachal Pradesh in India. Set midst the mighty Himalayas, the rough and rugged terrain of Kinnaur has a beauty of its own. The beautiful valley of Baspa and the weird dale of Hangrang, offer endless sights and sounds of nature with enchanting mystery. The natural beauty feeds and evokes the adventurous and the aesthetic mind, whereas the devout people find pleasure in the pilgrimage to Kinner Kailash.

Four different types of marriages are solemnized in Kinnaur namely.
1. The Janetang or Janekang (Normal wedding)
2. The Dam Tangshis or the Bennabg Hachis (love marriage)
3. The Darosh or the Dab- Dab (Marriage by force)
4. The Har (Enticing away someones wife)

The marriages in Kinnaur as in many other places are more the contract marriages of convenience, than the result of preference based on mutual love, esteem and affection. 

The elders propose and conclude the bargain. The marriage here is called Rejha. In this type of marriage the engagement takes place, when the boy and the girl are still of tender age. The engagement ceremony is performed by offering of Khatak (a piece of cloth), a bottle of liquor and other presents.

On the attainment of marriageable age, the father of bridegroom and other relatives go to the house of the bride and settle the day for the marriage, and the Rinchot (the amount to be paid to the family of bride) too. Rinchot may vary from fifty to one thousand rupees, according to the resources of the family of the groom.

The Rinchot is to be paid before the marriage as the money is supposed to be spent for the purchase of ornaments etc for the bride. The expenditure is taken into account and is refunded if the wife leaves her husband.

However the most unique form of marriage is Darosh and Har. In the former the wife is waylaid and kidnapped by the would be spouse. This happens with or without the consent of her parents. Sometimes an intimacy may develop between a boy and a girl and when the boy finds that the parents of the girl do not agree to their union, he abducts her. With the help of his friends he may carry her to his house. It is expected from the girl to struggle and make sincere efforts to escape, and if she succeeds she can be proud of it.

In Darosh, it is necessary to maintain that the first man to claim the girl is the one who gets to marry her. This is essential from the point of view of the parents of the girl, who at times may have objections about the would be groom, but not his family. The parents of the bride may insist that they would send their daughter, provided a particular boy of the family marries her.
The Bride of Kinnaur wearing traditional ornaments and dress

These kinds of marriages are quite common especially among the lower classes, who want to marry their daughters into the wealthy families.

Har is a Sanskrit word meaning to take away. It is an another form of an interesting and famous form of marriage. The Har form of marriage in Kinnaur occurs, when a married women falls in love with another man and decides to marry him. She leaves the house of her husband and simply goes with her lover. The lover or her future husband and her father has to return the Rinchot money to her former husband and has to pay an additional amount on account of Izzat or respect. The acceptance of the amount by the former husband sets the women free and the previous marriage is deemed to have become annulled.

However a gradual change is being seen in customs and traditions, and some of the above mentioned social customs may disappear one day.

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