Meghavahana and Amritaprabha: Ancient Connect of Kashmir and Assam
Meghavahana and Amritaprabha! One was the prince of Kashmir from the Gonanda dynasty and the other the princess of Pragjyotishpur (Assam) from the Varman dynasty. While Meghavahana traced his lineage from Gonanda of Kashmir, Amritaprabha belonged to the lineage of Bhagadatta, the descendant of Narakasura, the son of Prithvi (rescued by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu).
Meghavahana married Amritaprabha in a swayamvara ceremony in Assam more than 2000 years ago.
Swayamvara is a ceremony wherein a bride of marriageable age chooses the groom of her choice from a group of suitors. This practice was followed in ancient India. Kings in ancient India often invited princes of various kingdoms to attend the swayamvara ceremony of their daughters. The princess would thus choose her groom from amongst the group of assembled princes. Rama and Sita, Nala and Damayanti, Pandu and Kunti, Arjun and Draupadi married through swayamvara.
In recent times, a swayamvara ceremony was witnessed at Ghumka, a remote village in Durg district of Chhattisgarh, featured in a 2018 Hindustan Times report. Ramratan Thakur, the bride's father announced a month back ‘to marry off his daughter to a youth who would successfully reply to questions related to the creation of human beings’. Around 15,000 suitors assembled in an open ground at Ghumka where Ramratan Thakur asked each suitor his questions. To quote from this report, “a tribal youth Ghanaram successfully answered a question ‘Panchtatva rachi adham sharira, chhiti jal pawak gagan sameera’ (The body is made of five elements - earth, water, air, space, fire).... Amid clapping and religious chants, the girl who was wearing a bridal dress and seated on a chair waiting for her life partner, stood up and walked up to Ghanaram and garlanded him.”
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