A Coorgi Affair..

Handsome people, colourful traditional costumes, feasting, dancing and good humour make Coorg weddings a highly enjoyable spectacle.This was my first Coorgi Wedding and i loved every bit of it.

The main deity of the Kodavas is Goddess Cauvery. Unlike most of the Indian weddings there is no priest presiding over the ceremony. The wedding takes place in front of the Goddess Cauvery and with blessings of elders and family members. 

A photographer's duty is to reach the venue before anyone else...i do it religiously.

On the previous day eve the groom is dressed in a white long-sleeved kupya( a wrap-around knee-length oat, a traditional Coorgi man's attire) secured at the waist with a red & gold silk sash. A red silk scarf with white checks is tied on his head.

Coorgi women drapes the saree differently! The Saree is pleated behind and brought over the right shoulder. The Pallu is then secured in front. A scarf completes this elegant garment.

Getting geared up!! 

Here comes the handsome Coorgi groom...he wears a white long sleeved kupya, a red chele around his waist and a white & gold turban that is partly covered with a red veil. A peeche kathi (Coorgi Dagger) is tucked into the front of the chele and an odi kathi (War knife with a broad blade) is attached at the back. He wears the pavala maale that his mother places around his neck, katti bale (thick gold bangle) and a jasmine garland.

Dressing up session...The bride wears a red silk saree with gold designs and gold border..a red veil that covers her head and face. She is adorned with traditional Coorgi gold jewellery for her hair, ears, wrists, fingers & neck...silver jewellery for feet and a jasmine garland.

The jewellery she wears on her feet, in silver, is special to Coorg and represents the finest craftsmanship of the local jewellers. There are individual toe rings, attached to chains, linked to the ankle chains, which is finely crafted. 

COORG famous for Coffee, Honey, Pandi Curry & beautiful people.....A beautiful bride from beautiful Coorg.

The Wedding Day!!

A land of chivalry and pride, rich food and spices....my first Coorgi Wedding and i thoroughly enjoyed every bit!!!! 

It's Different!! 

A Display of Valour! 

The highlight of the wedding ‘Cutting of Banana Stems’. A symbolic gesture as a mark of respect to the maternal sides of both families. There will be 3 sets of such cuttings – The first in honor of the bride’s maternal family; The second in respect of the maternal families of previous brides of yesteryear's and the third in respect of the groom’s maternal family.

Thick banana stems are chopped with a short Coorg sword to indicate that the groom’s party has fought and taken as many lives for the bride’s hand. A symbolic throwback to the days when men fought for the women they loved.

The groom’s sister leads the way, a pot of water drawn from the auspicious waters of the river Cauvery and enclosed in a beautifully crafted basket balanced over her head. Later on she’s joined by the bride’s sisters each carrying a velaku (lamp), markers of auspicious beginnings. Together they lead the groom into the wedding hall where he joins the bride dressed in resplendent red.

Velaku (lamp)

Everyone is excited and getting ready for the happy moment..

The groom's umbrella..

The stage all set for the wedding..

Beautiful mother of the beautiful bride

Coorgi style saree

The Coorgi wedding is unique in many ways. Unlike most there is no priest presiding over the ceremony. The couple is pronounced married by the parents, the gathering at the wedding bear witness to the happy union. The elders there then proceed to bless the bride and groom with the Hindu tradition of sprinkling of rice over their heads. The bride and the groom are then given spoons of milk. 

If the men are known to be very strong, Coorg women are known for their beauty and confidence..

They worship their ancestors and therefore there is no priest. After the honour of cutting the banana plant stems, an elder guides the families through some rituals. The rest of the ceremony is family and friends blessing the couple with rice.. 

She wears a crescent moon shaped necklace called the kokkethathi..

Evening comes. Happy visions of the bride and groom walking away into the sunset surface. Hold your horses for there’s more to come. The bride is put to the test. She first has to break a coconut. Then she draws water from a well, and with the pot placed over her head tries to make her way into her new home. The groom’s family guarantees there no easy passage and amidst much singing and dancing block her from making her way to the door. The bride inches her way, slowly. She is accompanied by the groom’s sisters, probably symbolizing the forging of new relationships. The hypnotic rhythmic beats of drums and pipes, called Volaga (traditional Kodava music) fill the air, dancing forms merry against the blackness of the night. Everyone seems to be having their fill of the food and drink except for the poor bride who must focus on the task at hand.

And close to 5 hours since the ritual first started she finally arrives at the door step and steps in amidst much cheering. She is finally home.

Lunch was a lavish affair. The most famous corgi dish is Pandhi curry (Pork)....Dance, Booze and Pork unlimited!!! 

A cute guest at the wedding.. 

Guests having loads of fun..

Dance, Booze and Pork is unlimited!!! 

And some more fun...

Wishing Rishi & Dechu a very Happy Married Life together!!!