Ancient “Gandharva Vivah” exists in Himachal Pradesh as elopement marriages

November 14th, 2007 - 10:23 am ICT by admin  

Kullu, Nov.10 (ANI): People in Himachal Pradesh are known for keeping alive many traditions that find mention in ancient scriptures. “Gandharva Vivah”, mentioned in epic Mahabharata, exists here in the form of an elopement marriage.

The custom has it that the young couples eager to perform “Gandharva Vivah” are expected to elope and, later, settle for a proper marriage as per traditional rituals.

In Kullu’s Gramang Village, the prospective brides and bridegrooms have the liberty to choose their life partners of their choice. Following the custom, the lovers elope and on return to their homes, they are married off as per the local rituals in the presence of their Village deity.

“It has been going on since the times of the ‘Pandavas’ (victorious clan in the legendary Mahabharata war). We bring the girls here after running off with them and marry them. This is our tradition and everyone celebrates it with great zeal and enthusiasm,” said Arun Kumar, a resident.

The basic condition according to this marriage form is mutual love and consent by both-bridegroom-to-be and the bride-to-be.

Ram Kumar is one such youngster who recently eloped with his girl friend and opted for “Gandharva Vivah”.

“We felt that we have been made for each other. And, we decided to run away from our homes. Today it our wedding day and it will take place in front of our local deity. We also have to seek the acceptance of our family members and in-laws,” said Ram Kumar.

Bride’s family and relatives are invited by the bridegroom’s family for a traditional function prior to the wedding. It is then followed by a series of ceremonies.

Gandharva form of marriage is believed to have originated during the rule of Pandus in the mythological Hastinapur. Shakuntla is the wife of Dushyanta who was the founder of the Paurav Dynasty. She is the mother of Emperor Bharata as per Hindu mythology.

King Dushyanta first encountered Shakuntala while travelling through the forest with his army. Pursuing a male deer wounded by his arrow into the ashram (hermitage), he saw Shakuntala nursing the deer, her pet, and fell in love with her.

He profusely begged her forgiveness for harming the deer and spent some time at the ashram. They fell in love and Dushyanta married Shakuntala there in the ashram.

Marriages of Dushyant and Shakuntala; Daksheya and Prajapati, Bhima with Hidimba; Kamdeva and Rati, Kach and Devyani are considered typical Gandharva marriages.

Generally, in India, parents marry their children of marriageable age in arranged system of marriage and prefer a suitable match for their wards within their community. (ANI)

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