Top 10 South Indian Wedding Rituals – Explained

Top 10 South Indian Wedding Rituals – Explained

How long do you think a South Indian Wedding last? A couple of days? A week? Nah, sometimes it takes more than a week. Wondering why? Well, you see, our country is seasoned with a rich culture holding bunch of vibrant traditions. Every Indian preserve the creed of their religion and that’s why the Indian weddings are stacked with sentiments. You must be aware, Indian weddings have drawn its attention globally for it resembles a culture bank; wherein people drop their blessings and collect colorful memories on departing. If you have been querying where, to begin with on digging the South Indian wedding rituals, then let’s say this, you’ve come to the absolute place. we have curated the information and portrayed in a simpler form for you to understand the rituals we celebrate elegantly.

Disclaimer: The below rituals were chosen from the following South Indian States of India – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. A Ritual performed at one state may not be performed at other states. For Example: Haldi is widely performed now at Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. But seldom at Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In some intercaste marriages, the rituals are mixed up and performed.

On Skimming, we have come to a decision. Yes, listing all the Indian rituals will make this article endless. So, we have trimmed it and handpicked the top 10 Wedding rituals that are cherished in the southern part of India. You’ll get to know the facts and stories behind them. Oh, come on! you don’t need to grab a pen or paper, we have scribbled in a simplistic form, so you don’t need to google further. This article will remain as a South Indian Wedding guide. With no further delay, let’s get to know the popular rituals of South Indian Wedding and their significance.


Hard to pronounce? then call it as an “engagement”. Yep, a pre-wedding ritual which begins with Ganesh puja – a puja dedicated to Lord Ganapathy, without whom, one will be impelled to cross the obstacles, well we Indians believe! So all week is his blessing to break any such obstacles. The ritual includes sweets and savories that are offered to Lord Vinayaga (i.e lord Ganesh; oh yeah, he is known by 108 names). Well, the groom’s family gifts the bride a saree and jewelry on the day of Nichayathartham. This ritual turns more exciting when the couples were asked to exchange the rings as a sign of agreement for their marriage. Make your time and walk into the venue where engagement happens. you’ll get to hear the word “Lagna Patrika” which is actually an invitation card printed in a conventional way where the icon of Lord Ganesha is depicted.

Pandha Kaal Nadudhal


We would help you if we could. But no other go, you’ll have to practice pronouncing it! After all, the beauty of Indian Weddings lies in the web cherishing their traditions in its original form. A couple of days or a week before the Wedding, the family of the bride and groom arrange this event in their respective homes. Pandha Kaal Nadudhal is a ritual where both the bride and groom’s family plant a bamboo pole at the entrance of their homes and guess what, this is an official message to the near and dear ones that there is an upcoming marriage at their home. There’s another reason why this is followed in the South Indian families – yes, to ward off the evil eyes.



As the name suggests, haldi ceremony is all about applying the paste of haldi on the bride’s and groom’s body in their respective homes before the day of their Wedding. So is this also a pre-wedding ritual? Yes, you’re right. Almost all the rituals explained in this article comes under pre-wedding while one or two falls in post-wedding. Well, this ritual has got a greater significance in the series of rituals. The anti-inflammatory property of the turmeric helps to fight against the foreign invaders and protect the couples from any such illness. This haldi ceremony is seldom accompanied by songs and dances depending on the couple’s choice.

Gauri Puja


This ritual is specifically celebrated in the bride’s home. Guess why? Because this ritual is all about goddess Parvati. She is believed to be the sign of purity and hence the bride from every Indian family will complete this ritual before their wedding to seek the blessings from goddess Parvati. The ritual is super colorful where the bride’s uncle is reckoned to gift the bride a saree and other gift items. According to Indians, Rice embodies the prosperity and fertility. Why do we say this now? Well, the Gauri puja includes a sequence of actions to be performed with rice and its husks.

South Indian Wedding Rituals – Mangal Snaanam

Also called, Purifying bath is commonly followed in the South Indian Wedding culture. The beauty of this ritual lies in the early hours of the morning; Usually on the day of Wedding, but few prefer this a day before. Well, do you know what mangal snaanam is? Its holy bath where a paste is made from turmeric and pure oil and applied to the bride and groom in their respective homes followed by a shower. The turmeric possessing a great antibacterial property helps to fight against infections. The relatives and well-wishers are the day’s guests. To add on, a new set of clothes are given by the elders of the family. Oh yeah, you’ll see heaps of new clothes in their wardrobe, as the Wedding rituals move on.

South Indian Wedding Rituals – Kashi yatra

You heard it right! The familiar South Indian Wedding Ritual. A quite fun-filled ceremony on the day of the Wedding; where the groom pretends to leave for Kasi and doesn’t want to marry and leaves the venue with a walking stick, umbrella and other necessary things for a journey. Well, sad right? But to turn it interesting, the father of the bride rushes to the groom and pleads him to not leave the city for he has a beautiful daughter he could offer the groom. After some moments of refusals, the groom accepts his bride and they will be advised to exchange the garlands as a sign of agreement. Well, this is called “Maalai Maatral”. Yep, we knew you cannot pronounce unless you’re an Indian. Call it a Garland exchange.

South Indian Wedding Rituals – Garland exchange

Garland exchange aka maalai maatral can be witnessed in almost all Indian traditions include South indian wedding rituals. Nevertheless, if the couple hail from a southern or northern region of the country. This dates back its history to the ancient period where the queen chose her prince through swayamvaram. Certainly, this garland exchange ritual is a sign of the same. The bride and groom exchange their garlands thrice to complete this ritual.



Kanyadanam is a popular ritual specially dedicated to the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu wherein the bride is assumed to be goddess Lakshmi and the groom to be Lord Vishnu. Its an emotional moment between a father and his daughter. Why? Well, you can see the daddy love when the bride is seated on the lap of the father. Also, for history buffs who’re wondering why the bride is seated on the lap of his father, here is your feast. This is the highest form of sacrifice a man does in his life according to Vedas where a man offers a woman or to be precise his daughter to Lord Vishnu (who is now the groom). The holy verses are recited while the milk and holy water are poured.

Mangal Sutra


All the above rituals were pre-wedding which are patiently followed to witness this moment. The Wedding moment among the couples where the groom ties the holy Mangal sutra aka thali around the neck of the bride’s amidst the crowd gathered. You can feel the vibes of excitement as Mangala Vadhyam plays (music played in traditional instruments) to tear your ears. Oh, fret not, its figuratively conveyed!



We have been reading various rituals and ceremonies of South Indian Wedding and this Sapatapadi is a post-wedding ritual which happens in almost all Indian Weddings where the couples circle the holy sacrifice seven rounds depicting seven promises of life. The attires of the couples are tied together before the ritual is performed. Wondering what are those promises? Well, in brief, they are about

1. Share their responsibilities
2. To avoid mental and physical ailments
3. Lead a wealthy life, along with love and trust
4. Lead a righteous life
5. Trade their virtues
6. Living a long life
7. To remain true and honest to one another.

All right, you’ve come to an end. These are the traditions followed during a south Indian Wedding. If you’ve been reading this, then we must say you ’re either an avid reader or you must be a history buff or maybe you’re a wanderer who must have craved to know the rituals being celebrated in South India. Hope we served you well and hey, don’t forget to leave a comment.

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