The Indian Doli or Bidaai- The Bride’s Departure to Her Husband’s Home

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Bollywood might have popularized the concept of ‘Doli Sajaa ke rakhna’ through its blockbuster film, but the concept of the wedding Doli is actually an age-old ritual. In fact, the Doli /Palkhi or the Palanquin was used to transport the royals and the members of the warrior class in the olden days from one place to another. Many couples who want an opulent traditional wedding ceremony often endeavor to recreate such royal weddings held in the past.

Parents of the bride also wish to give a touching farewell to their darling daughters and spare no expense in the decoration of the Doli. While modern brides might even opt to be whisked away in cars decorated with flowers; there are others who wish to follow such deep rooted rituals and customs.

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The Bidaai formally marks the end of the wedding celebrations of a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. Though many modern weddings end with a grand Reception held in the evening; the Doli or Vidaai (or Bidaai) is, in fact, the official departure of the bride from her parental home to her husband’s home.

The Baidaai thus adds an emotional element to the celebrations. It is often a tearful event, as the much loved daughter leaves for her in-laws abode. In North Indian weddings, the bride throws puffed rice over her head, to symbolize the fact that she wishes her parents a life of abundance after her departure. The guests, in turn, throw coins at the procession so that the bride too lives a happy and prosperous life.

The Doli or the palkhi is a wooden enclosure that has four poles projecting on either side that can be shouldered by the bride’s maternal uncles and brothers. Modern Dolis are available in fabulous designs including Moghul Doli, Princess dolis or gold carved and crystal embellished dolis. These can be rented from wedding planners and event managers, many of which display the available choices in their online catalogues. Modern Dolis are not carried all the way to the husband’s home; brides are simply carried out in them for a few yards, and taken the rest of the way in a car. The inside of the Doli is cushioned with mattresses for comfort of the tired bride who is physically and emotionally exhausted after the Pheras, and the emotional Bidaai. The outside of the doli can be decorated with flowers, or beads and one can even choose to get it decorated as per one’s wedding theme. In view of this, it can be in the same colors as the wedding mandap or tent where the sacred vows are held. Thus, the deep rooted tradition of the Doli can indeed take the traditional Indian wedding to a whole new level.

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