As we all aware of, Kaasi Yatra is one of the more important rituals of a Hindu wedding. There are several theories that explain the ritual, with the most popular among them being this: the man is given two options soon after his education. One is to enter married life (Grihasta) and the other is to enter sainthood (Sanyasam). Being the natural escapist that he is, the man always selects sanyaasam and goes on a pilgrimage to Kaasi with an umbrella, a hiking stick and a book. The father or the brother of the bride stops him and woos him to come back & marry their daughter/sister.
Another version of the story goes like this. The groom is considered to be Maha Vishnu himself and the bride, Lakshmi. So the groom should perform a yatra to Kaasi to take a holy dip in Ganges and clear himself from all his sins and come back purified for the wedding. Once the father-in-law brings him back, he does kanyadaan, another important ritual which we will go through in the coming weeks.
As a photojournalistic wedding photographer, I love the Kaasi Yatra portion of the wedding. Its like giving the groom some props and getting some portrait shots done from him. The families of the couples deserve a special mention here as they are getting increasingly creative on the types of umbrella and the hand-fan that are being used. The level of detail & research that goes behind some of these designs just amazes me. Needless to say, this is one ritual of the Hindu weddings that I just love to capture. Here are some of the Kaasi Yatra shots from the weddings I have shot so far.