A few years back I had the honour of being invited to a wedding feast in Kupwara. To me a chance to visit the countryside in Kashmir is always something I look forward to – not only does it pristine unmatched beauty thrill me, the simplicity of its people, the sweet smile of the kids who grow up away from the ‘city-life’ makes me feel like this is the real Kashmir. Kashmir away from the ugly influences that makes us act like someone else.
Anyhow, that is a different discussion altogether. I am here to write about the Kashmiri Wedding – Kupwara style! 🙂 Travelling from Srinagar to Kupwara wasnt exactly very easy especially due to the traffic on the highway. The roads are pretty well built (general countryside comparison) so it wasn’t much of a problem reaching Kupwara otherwise.
Within Kupwara itself it took some time to figure out where exactly our host lived and we ended up driving through a streamlet. (I loved it – absolutely!). The road within the village was very difficult to travel through especially walking with little baby guests. Anyhow, we reached – late. Better late then never.
By the time we reached the bride had already been brought home. There was music and drum beating and the wanwun(traditional wedding singing) started. We dropped our stuff and rushed back down to view the festivities. The women sang together, standing and singing. The wanwun style was different from the Srinagar style, and the environment was completely different. Nobody looked made up to pretend to be someone else. Women carrying children, children running here and there, some groups up and some down (on the uneven terrain), singing and happy. There was a small tent(shamiyana) where the bride was. I made my way in the tent scanning to look for the bride. In srinagar the bride would be all decked up and sitting on some arrangement close to being a throne. I coudln’t find the bride. The tent was packed with women sitting so close to each other that there was hardly space to walk through.
And then finally I saw her – there was someone clad in a burka and she was the bride. And I thought how apt. The bride all dressed up is the last thing we should put up for display as we do in the city. The bride dresses up for her groom and not to display her charms to the guests who have come. I was impressed.
We (being special guests) got special treatment and the food was ready to be served so we were called up in the exclusive room to have our lunch. We were famished and more than happy to hear the food announcement. Gladly we walked into the mudhouse and the room on the first floor. The room was simple – mud walls. Window with a beautiful view of the wide expanse of paddy fields and the mountains in the backdrop. We washed our hands with the tash-naer as is traditionally done and pretty much jumped onto the wazwan. The wazwan was way simpler than the city extravagant wazwan, tasted different too somehow, but alhamdulillah was good. While we ate, we heard music and with my hand still having food on it, I crawled to the window to see- and I literally wanted to jump outta the window to join the festivities. There was the sword dance going on. Tried to take the video with one hand and (the other still having food clung to it) and a little boy of 2 tugging at me.
Here it is, for the blog readers! (Click on the image below to start the player)
Kashmiri wedding doesn’t have to be complicated extravagant affair really. It can be simple and beautiful like the wedding feast I experienced in Kupwara!