According to Hinduism, all the marriages that are solemnized are classified into eight broad categories. The categories are described in the Hindu scripture of ‘Manusmriti’, also known as ‘Laws of Manu.’

Brahma Marriage

It is the most sacred and superior of all the marriage types. In this, a boy after completing his first phase of life called Brahmacharya becomes eligible for marriage. He is considered learned because he has gained the knowledge of Vedas and lives a religious life. The parents of the groom approach the bride’s parents with a marriage proposal. The bride’s father assures that the boy is actually knowledgeable whereas the groom’s parents check the credentials of the girl. There was no concept of dowry.

Types of Hindu Marriages

Daiva Marriage

In this form of marriage, a girl is married off to a priest who conducts sacrifices and stays at places of sacrifice. Parents used to send their daughters like this when they were unable to find a suitable groom for the girl within a specific period of time. It symbolized the condemnation of womanhood who was punished for not getting a soul mate.

Arsha Marriage

It is a type of marriage where the girl was married to a rishi, generally an old sage, in exchange of a cow and a bull from the bridegroom. Such a marriage was solemnized with the intention of getting a benefit and was condemned.

Prajapatya Marriage

In this, the father of the bride goes in search for a groom for his daughter. He gives away his daughter to the groom by simply giving his blessings. Unlike a Brahma marriage, there is no concept of kanyadaan in this arrangement.

Gandharva Marriage

It is similar to an eloped marriage. A boy and a girl secretly marry without the knowledge and consent of their parents. It was generally looked down upon by the society.

Asura Marriage

It is an arrangement where an unsuitable groom marries a much better bride by giving the bride’s family as much wealth as possible. It was solemnized mainly out of greed for money.

Rakshasa Marriage

It was a forcible way of marrying a girl of choice. The groom fights the bride’s family, takes away the girl, and then persuades her to marry him.

Paishacha Marriage

It is a type of marriage in which the girl had no choice but to marry a man who seduced her while she was asleep, intoxicated or insane.