Grooms are being sold at a 700-year-old Indian market

(ORDO NEWS) — For more than 700 years, the Indian state of Bihar has hosted a unique grooms market where women and their families come to purchase husbands.

Every year, thousands of men gather under the Peepal trees at a local market in the Madhubani district (Indian state of Bihar) and wait to be chosen by future brides.

The grooms market, called Saurat Mela or Sabhagachhi, was allegedly founded by Raja Hari Singh of the Karnath dynasty over seven centuries ago to make it easier for women to find a suitable husband from different social groups.

The price of each groom is determined depending on his abilities, including the level of education and family background.

Imagine you go to the market to choose your life partner. It sounds crazy, especially these days, but this is how some Maithili women in Bihar choose their husbands.

Accompanied by their families, they look through the available offers, ask for proof such as birth certificates and high school diplomas, and if they find someone they like (and can afford), they start discussing the details.

Al Jazeera recently documented Bihar’s traditional groomsmen’s market, revealing that engineers, doctors and civil servants are the most in demand, with youth being the most popular.

Despite the fact that dowry is officially prohibited in India, and that one of the main aims of the grooms’ market was dowry elimination, it is still common practice for young, eligible bachelors to demand a substantial dowry from the bride’s family.

Apparently, the brides themselves are unlikely to have a say in the choice of the groom. Their families have the final say, ultimately choosing a bachelor who strikes a good balance between affordability and an impressive resume.

While not as popular as it was just a few decades ago, the Bihar grooms market still attracts thousands of bachelors, some of whom travel hundreds of miles in the hope of being chosen.

By the way, India also has a bride market. In Howudati, brides are sold at different prices, depending on their qualifications and housekeeping skills.


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