In the act of marrying Parvati, Shiva is called Kalyana-Sundara - ‘the beautiful bridegroom’. This marriage is called Kalyana-Mahotsava, and is celebrated every year with much fanfare and is said to bestow shanti - peace, on the whole society. Bronze images such as this are placed in a specially decorated pandal and the whole sequence of marriage rites as enjoined in the shastras are enacted, complete with an officiating priest chanting Vedic mantras.
Several Chola age inscriptions refer to bronze images of Kalyana-Sundara-Murti. Lord Shiva is shown holding Uma’s right hand in his own right palm, an act called pani-grahana, or taking the hand. This signifies the actual act of accepting the wife. Bhagawan Vishnu performs the kanya-dana, gifting of the girl in his capacity as Devi Parvati’s brother. He is shown pouring water from a pitcher onto the couple’s hands, thus granting the ceremony formal sacrality.
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