Gurez, Oct 3: While urban areas of Kashmir embracing technology and abandoning old traditions, the people of Tulail valley along the line of control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district continue to uphold the centuries-old tradition of “Doli,” where a bride is carried to her matrimonial home in a “Zapan,” a carriage or cot, by close family members during marriage ceremonies.
“Yes, while such marriages are infrequent, they are still witnessed. Tulail is one such remote area where the centuries-old tradition of Guer Mahraaz and Dol-e-Khandar is occasionally observed,” stated Shahnawaz Ahmad, a senior citizen from the Gurez valley said.
“Despite having well-constructed blacktopped road connectivity in Tulail, the local villagers continue to uphold the tradition of using horses and Dol-e during marriages. As modern means of communication developed and the socio-economic conditions of the people improved significantly over time, the age-old customs of Dol-e-Khandar (marriage with the bride carried on a palanquin) and Guer Mahraaz (marriage with the groom carried on a horse) began to wane,” he explained.
“Kashmiris have cherished the timeless traditions of wedding ceremonies for generations. The act of giving away the bride is a unique custom that not only symbolizes bidding farewell to the bride but also encourages her to embark on a new journey in life,” he noted.
“In the days of yore, even Kashmiri families in cities would arrange a ‘Doli’ or ‘Zapan’ (a carriage or a cot) to transport the bride to her marital home. This task was typically carried out by close family members or hired helpers known as ‘Qahars’ in Kashmiri. They would ceremoniously convey the bride to her new family’s residence,” Ahmad added.
“Even in Gurez town, villagers continue to opt for Dol-e and horses to celebrate the weddings of their loved ones, thus ensuring the preservation of this time-honored tradition,” he added
“Recently, a marriage ceremony in Dawar town followed the same tradition, attracting several tourists who eagerly participated and enjoyed this cultural spectacle,” he added.
“For the past few years, marriage ceremonies in Gurez and Tulail have been celebrated with grandeur, resembling traditional weddings, as the fear of cross-border shelling has diminished. People are now wholeheartedly participating in these marriages, especially during this season, which was previously marred by the threat of shelling,” Ahmad added.