This ceremony traditionally takes place at the groom's house, a day before the wedding. Nowadays, people prefer to do it in banquet halls to accomodate large gatherings and comfortable proceedings. A 'pandit' ( priest) performs 'havan' . It is believed that it drives away bad spirits and brings good luck and purifies the soul and surroundings. The girl's father perform the 'tika' (smearing of saffron or vermilion, mixed with rice grains and flower petals on the boy's forehead) ceremony, followed by serving him some sweet, tradition being 'boondi laddoos'. The girl's family gets beautifully wrapped gifts for the groom, his family and all the relatives.
Chunni (Stole) involves the girl. The girl is made to drape in a beautiful heavy 'chunni' with rich intricate embroidery, generally in pink or red. In some familes, this chunni is passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom. She is also gifted clothes and jewellery.
This take place at both bride's and groom's place. Earlier this ceremony used to take place 2-3 days before the wedding. But now a days this happens on the same day of marriage. Once this is over, the bride(/groom) is not supposed to step outside the house. At bride's place, this starts with some pooja(prayer) followed by smearing of ubtan (paste of turmeric, saffron) on face, arms and other body parts of bride. It is believed that it will make her beautiful and charming and bring glow to her face.
Khichdi is prepared with the ingredients that come from the groom's place and the girl eats it. The rest is served to her unmarried sisters and friends. They say that those who eat that shall get married soon.
After this the bride is not supposed to sit on bed.
After Saint, the relatives (specially sister in law and sisters) fetch some water in a pot(ghadoli) from a temple. The sisters and sisters in law also get a token/gift for this.The bride bathes with this water before getting ready for the wedding.
This is my favorite ceremony of all. Bride's mother's brother get chooda (a set of red-white bangles).Traditionally this used to be made of ivory but now generally plastic bangles are used. Since the bride is not supposed to see them before wearing, they are dipped in unpasteurized milk and finally her uncles make her wear these bangles.
After this the bride gets ready for the wedding.
I think I would close this here. This completes the prewedding ceremonies. Would write more about the wedding customs sometime later.