The most popular tradition of a north Indian wedding has to be the baraat procession, where family and friends of the groom dance and make merry on their way to the wedding venue. Traditionally, the baraat would proceed to the bride’s place, with orchestra bands playing loud Bollywood music and the groom seated in a decorated white mare. There would be boys provided by the bandwalas, who would carry heavy chandeliers on their shoulders to brighten up the path.
But with weddings getting more ostentatious and lavish, baraat processions these days are getting real quirky. “The baraat is no longer limited to dancing to the band’s music. For some weddings, we had exotic pole dancers, who dance along with the friends and relatives of the groom,” says Anil Thadani of Jea Band. “Even the buggy (charriot) of the groom is centrally air-conditioned or heated, depending on the season. Some people have started asking for black mare instead of the white, a shift from the convention,” Thadani says.
In some baraat processions, instead of the traditional orchestra, DJ’s play the latest music. And unlike the usual noisy and smoky generators used to light up the procession, people now go for rechargeable lights. Talk about an eco-friendly baraat!
“Grooms find it inconvenient to ride on mares and hence prefer buggies. Phoolon ki chhattar (an umbrella made of flowers) and innovative firecrackers are some popular trends this season. Also, we have introduced Rajasthani folk dancers and bhangra dancers, who dance ahead of the baraat,” says Sanjay Sharma of Master Band in Karol Bagh.
Another popular trend, which is in great demand, is the dancing mare. It has ghungroos (string of little bells) tied onto its feet and she dances along with the baraat.
“These mares are brought from Rajasthan and are quite expensive,” informs Sharma.