India is a country with a diverse culture and heritage but united by a feeling of oneness. This diverse nature in culture and customs also reflect in the wedding rituals of each of the 29 states of the country.
Likewise, the Telugu community which is spread principally in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has wedding rituals which more or less resembles that of the rest of the country but also carries an individual quality.
The Telugu wedding consists of many rituals and the bride has to wear different types of attires for each of these functions. Though saree is the staple attire of a Hindu Telugu bride the bride will have to wear different sarees for each function.
Like Kancheepuram for the Tamil brides, Dharmavaram silk sarees are a big hit among the Telugu brides. The handwoven silk sarees of Dharmavaram are famous not among the Telugu brides, it has got admirers from various parts of the world. They are known for their rich texture.
The Telugu brides usually wear ornately designed golden brocade sarees for each of the functions. Most of the brides prefer sarees in bright and vibrant colours such as orange, royal blue, fuchsia pink or combination shades like maroon & green.
The rituals start with Mangala Snaanam (a ritualistic bath for both the bride and the groom), Gowri pooja for the bride, Kanyaadaanam (handing over the girl to the groom), Jeelakarra Bellam & Madhuparkam where the the couple smears a paste made of cumin seeds and jaggery on each other’s head, Sumangali (married women come near the bride holding silver plates containing a lit lamp and a mixture of rice and turmeric powder), Mangalasootra (the ritual of tying the sacred thread), Akshintalu the exchange of garlands by the bride and groom, Saptapadi (taking seven steps together around the ceremonial fire).
The ceremony of welcoming the bride to the groom’s house formally is called Gruhapravesham. Between these rituals, the bride will have to change her attire at least four times.
The traditional ornaments of a Telugu bride is mostly based on temple jewellery designs that include a collar necklace or addigai, Lakshmikasu (coin necklace), muvvalu necklace, netti chutti for the forehead, jumka (basket earrings) with a chain, waist belt with designs or stones, armlets, colourful glass or gold bangles and elaborate finger rings are also worn.
Like the Maharashtrian brides, the Telugu brides also wear mundavalya - an ornate string that is tied horizontally across the forehead thus framing the face.