It was my privilege to participate in the traditional Tamil wedding ceremony for Manga and Thars at the Sattavis Patidar Centre in Wembley. My role as their wedding photographer at the Sattavis Patidar Centre allowed me to take a spectacular journey with this lovely couple through centuries old Tamil Hindu traditions handed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter and father to son. According to tradition, the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony dates back thousands of years to the time of Vedas, which are the holy scriptures. The ceremony is conducted in Sanskrit by a kurukal (priest) on a manavarai (stage) in the presence of Agni (god of Fire), who acts as a witness to the marriage.
Sattavis Patidar Centre Wedding Photos
Each part of the Tamil Hindu wedding ceremony has a special meaning and important symbolism which celebrates the couple’s marriage vows in a much cherished sequence of events; from dazzling traditional costumes to the jewellery, flowers and mehndi henna designs on the bride’s hands and feet, the colours, sights and sounds were spectacular, making it easy for me to shoot a stunning collection of wedding photographs. I am always excited to have the opportunity to be part of a traditional Asian wedding because there are so many colorful parts to the ceremony that the photos almost take themselves. I am never challenged to come up with ideas for the next shot.
As Thars arrived at the centre, groomsmen sprinkled his feet with water and he was given a garland of flowers to wear round his neck by the bride’s father. Two married women performed the circling of fire three times around Thars to ward off evil spirits and then the bridal sari, sacred gold pendant, garlands and gold chain were placed on a tray to use during the ceremony. Thars ascended the stage where the priest began by offering prayers, then giving the groom a ring made of grass, to signify purity of mind. A saffron thread was tied around Thars’s wrist to protect him from evil. At every important stage of the ritual, a coconut was broken open by relatives to symbolize the purity of the soul inside. Then it was time for the five married women to perform the Nayathanya Pooja, which is the sowing of nine types of grain to bless the groom with happiness and prosperity. When Manga arrived, stunningly beautiful and resplendent in her brilliant crimson and gold sari, she went up on the stage and sat on the right side of the groom to be sanctified and blessed by the priest, who then announced the family lineage of both bride and groom going back three generations. The vows were given by Thars to Manga, and to the chanting of mantras, Manga’s right hand was given to him along with a betel leaf, a coconut and a gold coin symbolizing wealth and prosperity.
Tamil Wedding Photography at Sattavis Patidar Centre in Wembley
Then came the part of the ceremony in which the groom ties the thali on the bride’s neck to the chanting of mantras and the showering of flower petals by the congregation. Thars then placed kungumam red powder on her forehead symbolizing that Manga was now a married woman and they exchanged sweet fruits and milk, which are symbols of sweetness, longevity and lasting love. They take their first seven steps together as husband and wife, as the priest recited special hymns at each of the seven symbolic steps. After the Pradakshinam, which is the walk around sacred fire, the ceremony concluded with Aalathi. This is a blessing by the parents and congregation. This involves showing the couple with yellow rice. This is signifying their best wishes and blessings for future happiness and prosperity. I tried to capture each part of this beautiful ceremony. And intersperse it with candid shots of the couple as they took part in the proceedings. I think their joy shines through in every shot. Their delight in the time honored religious traditions which venerate their families and ancestors is apparent. I would like to thank Manga and Thars very much for making me a part of their wedding day. At the same time I wish them much love and happiness in the future as they begin their life together as husband and wife.