Jitsun & Abhishek | Tribal wedding at Lahaul-Spiti


Abhishek and Jitsun saw each other for the first time at a wedding when their cousins were getting married.  Jitsun remembers seeing Abhishek from the car, he was standing by the road and she felt really warm and fuzzy when she saw him. She was too young then and they never approached each other and it was forgotten…until 2011.

Jitsun was in Bombay when they got in touch on Facebook. He messaged her saying he remembered her from the wedding and that’s when she realized he’s the same boy she saw years ago. They got talking and it took them 4 months to finally meet. When she met him for the first time, that warm fuzzy feeling was back. He was shy, polite and funny. But as fate had it, She had to move back to Delhi and she wasn’t sure if we would meet again anytime soon.

One month after she left, he traveled to Delhi and that’s when they started dating. They were sure they wanted to get married someday and this thought kept them going despite the distance. Both of them were focused that they wanted good careers before they take the leap. Abhishek supported her throughout, with her entrance exams and interview preps etc. So finally after 4 years of long distance relationship and stable careers, they decided it was time to get married.

Jitsun tells us that Abhishek has redefined happiness for her and has filled a very big void in Mamma, Sheffy ( her sister ) and her life. He treats her family like his own, keeps her grounded and laughs at her lamest of jokes. And even after 5 years, she still has a crush on him.

Presenting you one of the rarest weddings to be documented , where each frame was a sheer delight for the Ombré . We have incorporated not just the wedding pictures but our journey & team pictures as well 🙂

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Preparations at Jitsun’s house :- 

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  • The first event we covered was Nata Gota . One of the bride’s sisters wears the traditional jewellery and clothes and carries out all the ceremonies. She has to wear the jewellery throughout the wedding (it weighs almost 7-8 kgs). She is called a ‘Kalchorpa’ .Once all the relatives are gathered, the Kalchorpa carries out the ‘Shaagun’ where she swirls a twig of a holy plant in a pot (filled with homemade alcohol) thrice and shakes off the twig in air to demonstrate the offering of alcohol to their God while monks will be reciting the holy scripture.  After the ‘Shaagun’, the kalchorpa offers pressed dried flowers to all the relatives and traditional caps (Maroon or black) to the men. The entire ceremony has to be carried out with utmost grace by the kalchorpa.  After distributing the flowers, they have their own variation of the tikka (that hindus apply on forehead). They use homemade butter, a piece of it is applied on the head as tikka . After applying that, the kalchorpa and the person exchange their greetings through a gesture which looks somewhat like an “adaab”
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Preparations at Abhishek’s House :-

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Baraat Departure :- 

The groom and best man’s turban is tied by the family elders. All the baraatis are seated in a room along with the groom and the best man. Caps and Pressed flowers offered to all the baraatis by the groom’s sisters. The wedding arrow is placed on a bowl. Wedding arrow is placed in front of the groom and best man. Shaagun is done using the wedding arrow where the tip of the arrow is dipped in alcohol. This is done by the best man. Along with the groom and bestman, there is a family elder who plays the role of “Shirdhar” , who carries an axe on his shoulder. The sharp end of the axe faces the sky, once the marriage is done, the axe is carried back with the sharp end towards the earth.

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Dham ( Kullu Feast ) & Reception :- Bride is dressed in traditional clothes. The elder women will braid her hair and attach various hair ornaments. The baraat arrives and the men in the bride’s family at first block the gates and a sort of debate is carried out near the gate where the bride’s side family asks them why they think they deserve the bride etc etc. then the gates are opened and the baraatis dance their heart out. The monk carries out prayers at the entrance. Then the Baraatis are welcomed by 6 bridesmaids. The main ‘Kalchorpa’ is in the traditional attire. All the bridesmaids carry various items of shagun (alcohol, sattu, pressed flowers, butter) and one by one all the baraatis first swirl a twig in the barley beer and offer it to god, then they sprinkle a pinch of sattu thrice to offer to the gods, they are poured some alcohol in their palms that they sip and then a pressed flower is offered. Bride’s brother and uncle then offer the traditional ‘Khatak” (a white scarf, somewhat like a garland) . The groom and the best man wear a suit with a pink turban decorated with pressed flowers, a sash and the white scarf. (Very difficult to distinguish the groom from the best man). They are accompanied by two sisters. Baraatis are welcomed with butter and shaagun ceremony

In the meantime, the bride is ready with the jewellery and traditional dress. To differentiate her from the ‘Kalchorpa’, she wears a maroon shawl while the kalchorpa wears a white shawl. The groom’s sisters and best man then conduct their side of shaagun by dipping the arrow wrapped in the white scarf (this arrow is the main symbol of marriage and cannot be placed on the floor) in the alcohol. Then the groom’s sisters offer alcohol to the bride’s relatives and the bride and apply butter on their head.

After that, the groom can see the bride and rings are exchanged. Bride’s sisters ask for money to allow the groom to place the ring on her finger. Sometimes sindoor is also applied (not necessary though) . While all this is going on, the traditional Kullu style meal is served. People sit on the floor and food prepared by pandits are served to everyone.

Before the vidaai, the traditional jewellery of the bride is taken off and a wedding chunni is worn with a white shawl around the shoulder. The wedding arrow is attached to the bride’s shawl and the best man holds the arrow. All the close relatives sit in a hall and the bride is escorted to the hall by her sisters or aunts. Bride goes to each relative touches their feet (LOTS of crying happens, LOTS!) Then the bride has to put her hand in a plate of sattu (some sort of flour), her brother lifts her up and she has to leave her hand prints on the door frame. After this the baraat departs while traditional music is played.
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Bride’s Welcome & Feast :- The bride is given a set of wedding clothes, jewellery, shoes.. basically everything and she has to get dressed in all that. Then bride, groom and groom’s parents and their siblings stand at the entrance with the ‘khatak’ (the white scarf) and other shagun stuff. Bride’s parents, and close relatives are escorted in by the groom’s relatives with music and all and are welcomed at the gate. Post that everyone again eats, drinks and dances. There is another ceremony where the bride is offered some wool by groom’s sister that she has to kind of clean (not too much, just a small bit)

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And our favourite bit from the whole wedding 🙂

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Ombre was the best decision we made for our wedding. The communication was incredibly smooth throughout &  team made us feel at ease at all times. It was like having a group of friends around. Team captured pivotal moments and emotions so effortlessly. The results were breathtaking photos that we will cherish for life. 

Lavanya & Erick

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Ombre and team has been highly understanding and cooperative during our nuptial journey. From Harsheen to Tessa, the whole team at Ombre has done exceptional work in photography, cinematography and editing, for pre-wedding shoot to the nuptial pheras on the wedding day. I highly recommend them!

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