Marriages are made in heaven and solemnized on earth is one of the most common beliefs about marriage. People belonging to different communities, however, follow different ways of performing marriages. Incidents of some communities resorting to paying dowry to the groom and his family are common in India. But the way marriages in this area of Bihar are arranged is strikingly offbeat and strange, too.
Till now, you might have heard of a market for vegetables, fruits, grocery but a market for grooms is surely something not commonly heard of. But in the Madhubani area of Bihar, a market for grooms is organized!
This market, that is organized for 9 days in an orchard spreading over 22 bighas of land every year in the Hindu calendar months of Jyestha–Aasadh, is known as Saurath Sabha, Saurath Mela and Sabhagachhi. People belonging to the Maithil Brahmin community arrive in this market from all corners of the world with their daughters. Upon finding an appropriate match for their daughter(s), the parents get them married promptly.
Registrars, locally known as Panjikars, play an important role in this fair and also in the marriages that are arranged here since they are the ones who approve the alliances happening here.
The ritual of organizing this fair began 700 years ago. In the year, 1971, as many as 1.5 lakh people participated in this fair, however, the number kept falling steadily thereafter.
In fact, now, the family of the bride decides the amount of money for dowry as per the qualification of the groom due to which the tradition has lost its significance.
Now that the Bihar government has decided to start a campaign against dowry starting October, the fair has been organized again after a gap of several years. Beginning on June 25, it will last till July 3. The administration has also made several preparations for the arrangement of this fair.