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Arrival of the Vara Yatra As the groom and his party, together called the vara yatra, arrive at the ceremony site amidst much singing and dancing, the bride's parents, family and friends greet them with akshat (a kind of rice), tilak (a dot on the forehead), arati (a plate carrying a lighted lamp), and a garland.

Grahashanti Before the wedding begins, the nine planets are invoked by name in a ceremony called grahashanti (peace with the planets).

Blessings are received from each planet for the new couple's life together.

Kanyadan The bride is often led to the mandap by a brother or uncle, where the groom waits with the bride's parents.

Hinduism has at its core the Vedas, the spiritual scriptures that are the heart of India's culture.

The Vedas divide life into four distinct stages, or ashrams: studentship (brahmacharya ashram), householder (grahstha ashram), retirement (vanprastha ashram), and self-realization (sanyas ashram).

The end of the bride's , which hangs over her shoulder, is tied to her husband's scarf to show that they are joined together.The bride's parents offer their daughter in marriage in a pious and solemn ritual called kanyadan.They wash the feet of the bride and groom with milk and water, purifying them for their new life together.Often the bride puts her foot on a stone to show that she is willing to perform her duties as a wife.The couple take seven steps around the sacred fire, with the groom's right hand on the bride's right shoulder.

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