Indian groom's sehra bandi

The Sehra Bandi at North Indian, Punjabi and Pakistani Weddings

The sehra bandi at North Indian, Punjabi, and Pakistani weddings is an ancient tradition for the groom.

{Ceremony Before the Baraat}

Sehra Bandi: is the ceremony where the groom’s face is covered by tying a multi-stranded garland to his paghadi (turban).

“Sehra” is the actual garland headgear and “Bandi” means to tie.

So the garland is tied to the groom’s turban by the groom’s sister-in-law (bhabhi) after she applies kajal (eyeliner) to the groom which is believed to ward off evil spirits. Afterwards, she’s presented with a monetary gift or jewelry.

In Pakistani weddings, sehra is actually a poem about the groom, his qualities, personality and praise for him. And it is sung or recited during the nikah.

The sehra bandi can get a bit emotional for the groom’s immediate family as some see it as a physical transition from boyhood to manhood.

Groom's mother getting groom ready for sehra bandi at a North Indian wedding.
The groom’s mother applying kajal (eyeliner) to her son, to ward off evil spirits; PC: Randery Imagery
The groom’s and groomsmen’s turbans. PC: Randery Imagery
Sehra bandi at a Punjabi wedding
Tying the groom’s sehra to his turban. PC: Greycard Photography

{Sehra Bandi Scheduling}

The sehra bandi has a slight impact on the wedding day schedule. It should really only take a few minutes and it happens before the groom gets on the horse/elephant/in the car, to start his baraat.

Note for the super curious: The garland covers the groom’s face and traditionally functions similarly to a bride’s ghunghat or the scarf draping that covers her face – which symbolizes modesty. Most brides in the United States and Canada have let go of this old tradition and have adopted the Western tradition of walking down the aisle, making her first public appearance, dazzling all the guests with her head-to-toe beauty.

Typically you see the sehra bandi done at North Indian, Punjabi and Pakistani weddings.

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    Cover image: Gary Coelho Photography