Arya Samaj Mandir in Jaipur
Arya Samaj Mandir the Hindu wedding ceremony, a rite known as ‘sanskara’, Arya Samaj Mandir has many components and it is quite beautiful, specific and filled with chanting, Sanskrit blessings and ritual that is thousands of years old. In India, it can last weeks or days. In the West, it typically is at least two hours long. It is the role of the Hindu priest or ‘pandit’ to lead a couple and their families through the sacrament of marriage. Arya Samaj Mandir Jaipur however, as an interfaith minister, I’ve had the good fortune of being called upon by Hindu brides and grooms and couples who love Hindu rituals, to incorporated some of the rites into non-denominational, interfaith or multi-faith ceremonies.
An important aspect of the Hindu ceremony is to light a sacred fire, created from ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) and woolen wicks, to evoke the God, Agni (Fire God), to bear witness to the ceremony. The highlight is ‘Saptapadi’, also called the ‘Seven Steps’. Here in Arya Samaj Mandir Jaipur, traditionally the bride’s sari is tied to the groom’s kurta, or a sari shawl might be draped from his shoulder to her sari. He leads, her pinky linked with his pinky, in seven steps around the fire, as the priest chants the seven blessings or vows for a strong union. With each step, they throw small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together.
This is considered the most important part of the ceremony at Arya Samaj Mandir Jaipur, it seals the bond forever. A nice way to adapt this into a creative, contemporary ceremony is to light a traditional fire, or use a candle, placed on a small table in front of the wedding altar. Bride and groom can be in tux and white dress as they take seven steps while seven blessings are spoken in English. Here at Arya Samaj Mandir Jaipur are Seven Blessings adapted from a Hindu ceremony.