700 years old groom market in Bihar – some facts about a dying tradition

11:40 AM | 13 Aug, 2022
700 years old groom market in Bihar – some facts about a dying tradition
Source: File Photo

The Indian state of Bihar has been keeping alive an unusual tradition for more than 700 years; it has been hosting a unique groom market for women and their families to shop for husbands.

The tradition is called 'Saurath Mela' or 'Sabhagachhi', a nine-day groom market allegedly started by Raja Hari Singh of the Karnat dynasty to make it easier for women to find the right husband from a diverse group of men. 

Every year, thousands of men gather under the pipal trees in the local market area of Madhubani district, in Bihar, to be chosen by their prospective brides. Each groom's price is based on their capability, including their educational qualifications and family background.

One of the main goals of this groom market is to eliminate the concept of dowry. The tradition is kept alive although the brides themselves hardly have a say in choosing their life partner; it’s their families who ultimately decide.

The groom market of Bihar isn’t nearly as popular as it was only a few decades ago owing to more convenient options, like online dating apps. The apps allow thousands of bachelors, some of whom travel hundreds of kilometres, to choose a partner of their choice.

India also has a bride market. In Haudati, brides are available for various prices, depending on their qualifications and homemaking skills.

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