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GENERAL INFORMATION

All the information you'll need to get married in India can be easily located on this section of our site. Should you require additional information? Please do not hesitate to contact our Raj Palace Event Planners as they are your direct link to your dream wedding.


History of Jaipur

Jaipur, the pink city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11kms from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and the King took great interest while designing this city of victory. He consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur.

After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Due to this reason, he focused on his scientific and cultural interests to make a brilliant city. Being, a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture. Vidhyadhar referred the ancient Indian literature on astronomy, books of Ptolemy and Euclid, and discussed the plan with the King.

With a strategic plan, the construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, whereas the remaining seven blocks were allotted to the public. In order to ensure the security, huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates.

According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him. Still, the neat and broadly laid-out avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city. Jaipur is rich in its cultural and architectural beauty, which can be traced in the various historical and aesthetic places that reside in the city. This city of victory really wins the hearts of the people with its splendid charisma.


History of Rajasthan

Foundation of Rajasthan

Rajasthan was inhabited long before 2500 BC and the Indus Valley Civilization had its foundation here in north Rajasthan itself. The Bhil and the Mina tribes were the earliest dwellers of this area.

Around 1400 BC the Aryans paid a visit and settled forever in the area. The local population was pushed down south and towards the east. Afghans, Turks, Persians and Mughal followed in mixing their blood, first in war then in peace, with the existing original inhabitants. This blending gave the martial lineage to the Rajputs.

From the times of Harsha (7 AD) to the founding of the Delhi Sultanate, Rajasthan was fragmented in competing kingdoms. Perhaps it was during this era by their influence through wealth and power the Rajputs persuaded the Brahmins to link them with the sun, the moon and the fire god. With the passage of time they were divided into 36 royal clans. Rajasthan finally settled for a long and lasting reign under the colorful and vibrant Rajputs. and it's a surprise that they lasted as long as they did. Considering that they were at a constant state of aggression; if not with a foe, then with each other. After the 14th century their influence declined in the area.

In came the Mughal who gained control of the region through the clever strategy of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. He performed matrimonial alliances with the Rajputs where faced military failure and thus turned them from fearsome foes to faithful friends. This proud but very divided race was thus brought to some order under the imperial Mughal, by the some deft mixing of marital and martial relations. Akbar gave high offices to many Rajput princes after seeking reconciliation through marriage to a Rajput princess, Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Maharaja of Amber. However, the spunk of the Rajput soul was never really captured, till the spread of the British colonial power. However, when the Mughal weakened they were quick to reassert their dominance. The Rajputs as a community thus has outlived the somewhat tribal Delhi Sultanate, the grand Mughal and the war-like Marathas. In fact to this day their descendants, though stripped of their titles and kingdoms, are revered as rulers by the common man.

The Origin of Rajputs

The origin of the Rajputs remains somewhat in doubt. That they were of foreign origin is suggested by the elaborate genealogies that the Brahmins (the priest of the Indian Varna or caste system) created to accord them the Kshatriyas (warrior) caste. Which status they always insisted upon with almost undue vehemence. The Rajputs traced their lineage from a mythical fire atop Mt Abu, a mountain in Rajasthan, (Agni Kula or the Fire Family), the sun (Suryavanshi or the Sun Family) and the moon (Chandravanshi or the Moon Family).

Whatever their lineage, the Rajputs certainly were the living image of the knightly noble; handsome, brave - almost foolhardily so - and living within an elaborate code of honour and chivalry. Even then the attitude towards the British rule were varied and after the quashing of the 1857 Mutiny and the establishment of the British Indian Empire, the Rajput Princely States gained importance with 21 gun salutes, royal polo matches and durbars, just as they lost its meaning. Yet today the spirit and the heroic exploits of famous Rajput warrior-kings, like Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Kumbha, and Bhappa Rawal, continue to echo in the golden sands of Rajputana in the people's folklore, music and dance.

When India became independent 23 princely states were combined to form the State of Rajasthan or the abode of rajas and now has become the foremost destination in India.

Tales of the pink City

Thakur Mohan Singhji of Chaumoo won the Battle of Kandahar and disarmed the 5 armies of different Kabila and snatched the flags and sewed them and presented to his brother Sawai Jai Singh in Amber he got so much wealth from this conquer of Afghanistan that a new city was planned and that was Jaipur and those five flag colours became the five coloured flag of Jaipur hence the first Palace of Jaipur The Raj Palace was built in 1722 AD by Thakur Mohan Singhji.

Jaipur is India's most fascinating cities, as seen through the eyes of both its residents and visitors, who witnessed and recorded different monuments in Jaipur's history between the 17th and the 20th centuries. The triumphs, follies and foibles of its rulers, the passion and drama of place intrigues, the splendour of royal rites and entertainments, and the bustle and energy of its bazaars and ateliers, all come to life through the vivid and detailed accounts of chroniclers and diverse an Austrian Jesuit, a French naturalist, a court priest, a city merchant and a pilgrim from Banaras. Each reflects a different aspect of Jaipur, together creating a captivating, kaleidoscopic portrait of the Pink City.

Out of the silken darkness of the desert dawn emerged the dream of Jaipur City in the eyes of Sawai Jai Singh. born in the year 1700 during the troubled years of his youth. He thought relaxation from the rigors of the survival in the midst of a continuous war of succession for the Mughal throne at Delhi and the consequent disruption of life in feudal principality including his own Amber by wandering in the jungles below the hill in search of game, he had built for himself the lodge at the end of spur and he found a large natural pool of water where he constructed a Baradari, which he called "Badal Mahal, Place of Clouds" and it was here that he found rest from the affairs of the state.

He was deeply interested in astronomy the cause and effect the mind of Man who was part of the supreme cosmos, he wanted to confirm his findings by building another observatory near the Badal Mahal.

He brought his presiding deity Govindji to the Palace of Clouds and worshipped his idol from morning to evening since he fetched it from Mathura to Amber where it had been threatened with demolition by emperor Aurangzeb. The King loved Krishna incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the songs of Meera bai the princess turned poet. Saint Sawai Jai Singh contemplated his faith in the cosmos and the flights of imagination his Brahmin guru Samrat jagan nath recited the rig vedic hymn to the son of Gayatri.

A frequent member of his court was Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, a young Bengali architect who advised him on 1693. Vidhyadhar shown a prodigious talent in the art of building , he called for 5 years of wax one day to prepare a model of the roof of the palace, a symbol construct of a winding staircase , a wonderful innovation.

The philosopher Sawai Jai Singh believed that as the great adventurers like Kublai Khan in China, Hulugu in Persia, Ulugh Beg in Central Asia and the great western discoverers, Euclid, Columbus, Galileo, Copernicus and Farmstead had tested their visionary, hunches through experimental constructions. He too must build structures for the living and releasing the sense of wonder in his people.

He knew that man could not imagine perfectly until they can realize the flights of imagination. In concrete faith that belief arises from acts, that the arts are uncertain till they are absorbed by the head, the hart and the hands. Sawai Jai Singh had a vision of heaven on earth to build his new city.

In paying homage to Jaipur intact for three centuries we pay homage to the genius of a prince who left the precincts of his palace to pursue knowledge to mingle with his people in festivals of joy in this abode of Jaipur a miniature cosmos of the world, A city of Victory, A city f Joy, Where there is a joining of hearts for eternity.

The Prince and The Mughal Emperor

The young prince Jai Singh was ascending the throne of Amber .At his court, the court poet spoke "Homage to you that in the time of crises, disruption and despair where the Mughal emperor has left a trail of heritage of bitterness and ruin at Delhi. When fanaticism has lead to demons of hate, looters in the vast landscape, murderers of innocent people, despoilers of women's honors. O !! Prince you are now ascending the gaddi of Amber and one of your first obligation is to go and pay respects to the paramount power, the tyrannical emperor Aurangzeb, I can see you in the shadow of the great Diwan hall of Amber constructed by Raja Jai Singh, General of the Great Mughal Shah Jehan with your ministers and mothers all trying to instruct you on how to offer salutations to the king of kings."

The nobles discussed the scene. "Prince the emperors stare is frightening" said one noble, "O noble one beware! The temper of the sword bearer is like a toothless old lion that cannot masticate but still want to devour, "said the second. The minister gave his advice on the protocol." O prince bow down, thus salaam with a cupped hand." The prince bent low before his mother, "What am I to say if the emperor doesn't ask me questions at all? Or does not look at me? Or insults me?" The queen mother answered "speak forth what comes first to your lips from your heart my son, freely".

Title of "Sawai"

At the court of the emperor Aurangzeb a few weeks later the chobdar announced gravely : " The shadow of the God on earth , the king of Kings, the protector of the universe, Badshah Aurangzeb Alamgir- conqueror of the whole world. The Garand vizior introduced the young prince ,"Raja Jai Singh' of amber. Aurangzeb jumped down from the throne and seizing both hands of Jai Singh's and saying angrily "Your father and grandfather have proved traitor to me! They have done much harm to the empire! What do you expect from me?" Jai Singh spoke bravely "Protector of the Universe, at the time of marriage a man takes hold of only one hand of the bride and promises to look after her. The emperor has taken hold of me with both hands what more can I ask?" Non plussed by his answer Aurangzeb said "To be sure you are wiser than your ancestors, Mirza Jai Singh, I give you the title of Sawai (one and the quarter) you thus remain superior to all your contemporaries."

This is how title of Sawai endures till today

Govind Dev ji

Jai singh said to his mother "The emperor Aurangzeb has destroyed the shrine of vishvanath at Varanasi and now he seeks to destroy the shrine of Govindji at Mathura. I am speeding to Mathura to bring the idol to the safety of Amer Thus the idol of Govind Dev ji came to stay in Jaipur.

Colour Pink of "The Pink City"

According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him. Still, the neat and broadly laid-out avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city. Jaipur is rich in its cultural and architectural beauty, which can be traced in the various historical and aesthetic places that reside in the city. This city of victory really wins the hearts of the people with its splendid charisma.


Indian Weddings History


Introduction

The marriage ceremony is one of the oldest customs of mankind and the Indian culture is no exception, and it is considered one of the most important events of one's life. In India, the Kanyadana (literally meaning, donating a virgin) or giving away one's daughter in marriage, was considered the greatest sacrifice a man could perform. It was also a duty performed by the bridegroom to perpetuate his lineage. By making marriage a sacrament, the Hindus elevated the physical union to spiritual dimensions. Many in India consider marriage an integral part of human condition, binding not only in this life, but in the afterlife as well.

History of Weddings in India

From the hymns and verses about marriage in the Vedas, we learn that mature individuals were considered ready for marriage after puberty. In subsequent times however, brides were married even in childhood, perhaps due to a series of foreign invasions in North India. In an attempt to provide security their women from the invaders, early marriages became the norm. According to the scriptures of Manu, divorce and remarriage were not permitted. Most references to marriage in the ancient texts suggest that the Aryans were monogamous. However, some references to polygamy and polyandry have been found in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata.

In medieval India, the marriage was compulsory for all the girls except for those opted asceticism. Brahmin girls were married between ages eight and ten from sixth or century onwards up to the modern times. Polygamy was permitted to all who could afford, and it was especially popular among Kshatriyas for political reasons. According to the Manasollasa, the king should marry a Kshatriya girl of noble birth for a chief queen though he is permitted to have Vaishya or Shudra wives for pleasure.

Today, in India both divorce and remarriage are completely legal, whereas polygamy and polyandry are both criminal offences for Hindus, punishable by law. The Islamic personal law of Sheriat allows up to four wives for a man, and it is legal for a Muslim to have multiple wives in India.

Varieties

From its initial simplicity, the wedding ceremony became complicated (involving such issues as the dowry), over time to reinforce the extended family. Today, a marriage is perhaps the most important social occasion for any family, reflecting the regional color that overlays the basic Vedic rites. A Mahurat or auspicious moment is chosen by the time of the year and the horoscopes of the bride and groom. Wedding preparations begin well beforehand. The wedding is usually conducted at the bride's home, in temples, and nowadays in hotels, or in special marriage halls. Entire families congregate, with evenings spent in singing, dancing, and eating.

The customs during the wedding ceremony in India are varied and reflect the vast diversity of cultures of the land. The cultures have influenced each other with mutual borrowing of practices.

A day before the wedding, the bride and her friends and female relatives gather for the ceremony of Mehandi, in which their palms and feet are decorated with henna. The bride is teased with music and dance, by the other women about her future husband and in-laws.

A wedding altar or Mandap is erected at the marriage venue on the day of the wedding, within which the ceremony is conducted. The poles of the frame are draped with strings of flowers. On the wedding morning, various rituals are performed on both the bride and the groom in their own homes. Their bodies are anointed with turmeric, sandalwood paste and oils, which cleanse the body, soften the skin, and make it aromatic. They are then bathed to the chanting of Vedic mantras. Today this is done symbolically, if at all, with a token application of turmeric, sandal wood, and oil on the face and arms, before the bath. The bride now wears all her finery, helped by her womenfolk.

In the north and east, the ritual of putting Sindoor, or vermilion powder, in the parting of the bride's hair is performed by the groom.. The husband dips his ring in vermilion powder and traces a line from the center of his wife's hairline to the crown of her head. Brahmin grooms who have not undergone the Upanayana ritual are given a symbolic initiation. Some warrior communities like the Kodavas involve sword wielding rituals in the ceremony.

The gathering showers the bride and groom with flower petals (see also: Saying' it with Flowers -- While the Western societies glamorized and commercialized the flowers, it is only the Indians who have blended their lives with flowers.) and the couple come out of the Mandap. They touch the feet of their elders to receive blessings and are greeted by everyone present. The bride now leaves for her new home, bidding a tearful farewell to her own family. She now belongs to another family and no longer to her parents, for she has been ritually given away. They proceed homewards dancing and singing. When the bride arrives at her new home, an arati is performed for her by her mother-in-law and she is ceremonially ushered into the house. She takes care to enter, auspicious right foot first, gently kicking over a strategically placed measure of paddy as an augury of plenty for her new family. In today's India, the couple then leaves for their honeymoon.

Wedding Attire

In different parts of India, brides wear different kinds of clothes, ornaments, and adornments. The bride's clothes are usually typical of the area. A Rajasthani bride would wear a lehenga, a Punjabi bride would wear a salwar-kameez, and a Maharashtrian bride would wear a nine-yard saree. Most brides wear saris nowadays, usually in shades of red, pink or mustard. A bride sports as much traditional jewelry as her family can muster, for today, she is Goddess Lakshmi incarnate, harbinger of prosperity to her new home. Like her clothes, the bride's ornaments also differ according to local tradition. However, necklaces, earrings, bangles, rings, a nose-ring, anklets, and toe-rings are worn by most brides. Ornaments like armlets, tikas, hathaphula, and waistbands, traditionally important, are optional today and not worn in all areas. Traditionally, the bride was adorned with natural beauty aids. For example, a paste of henna (see Mehendi) was put over her nails, which stained them red. Her eyes were lined with kajal and scented water was sprinkled on her. Today, however, most brides, both in the urban and rural areas, use branded cosmetics and perfumes. In south India, flowers were, and remain, an important adornment, while the north is now beginning to rediscover this pretty custom. Most grooms in the north wear a shervani with a churidar pyjama, a bandha-gala suit, or a western-style suit. Turbans are also very popular, for the groom and the important members of his entourage. In the South, grooms either wear the traditional veshti (dhoti) and jubba (kurta) or a three-piece suit. North Indian grooms set forth to their weddings adorned with a sehera, a veil of flowers tied to the turban, to screen their faces from the evil eye (scarecrow).

The Rituals

The bride and the groom garland each other in formal mutual acceptance. This custom has become a very important part of the wedding ceremony now but is not mentioned in the Vedas. It probably originates from the Swayamvara practice prevalent in early centuries of the Christian era in India. After this, the bride and groom sit in the Mandap next to each other before a sacrificial pit or Havana kund. The ritual of Kanyadana now takes place. The bride is given to the groom by her father or by her grandfather or brother in the absence of her father. The bride's father first symbolically gives her to God, invoked by the priest with the mantras. The bride's guardian takes her hands and places them in the groom's, transferring his responsibility for her to the groom. The groom assures her father that he will not be false to her in dharma, artha, or kama. After this, the groom ties a tali (a.k.a. Mangalasutra) around the bride's neck. The marriage ceremony then enters its most important phase, the Saptapadi (seven steps), in which the couple take seven steps together, facing the north. With the fire (Agni) as the witness, they exchange the wedding vows. Legally, the marriage is now final and binding. The bride is then sprinkled with holy water, believed to purify her from any previous sins and cleanse her, in preparation for her new life ahead.

The Legends

Legend goes that during the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Shiva asked Parvati to come to his left after the Agni pradakshina, symbolizing that they had been married. Parvatiji said she would not accept this as a marriage until Shiva granted her seven wishes. Shiva did so, and then made seven stipulations, which Parvatiji accepted, and the seven steps are supposed to have derived from this.

The Gandharva Vivaha (the marriage of the celestials) involves simple exchange of garlands upon with the marriage is confirmed. We find references of this type of wedding in Hindu mythologies and epics. This is equivalent of eloping in today's world, and couples whose union is not blessed by families seek refuge in this custom.

It is said that the thought of another woman as a wife never occurred to Ramachandra (see Lord Ramachandra of Ayodhya) who is considered the perfect man, and widely worshipped in India, and the devotees (most notably Mahatma Gandhi) try to emulate him. The strong tradition of monogamy in India perhaps has roots in the Hindu epic of Ramayana.


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