At present we follow giving Dowry to the grooms which is considered as social evil. What Lord's do is considered right because they will have a particuar reason behind it. So I want to know what they followed and why.

  • there was never a concept of dowry earlier. vara-dakshina does not mean dakshina given TO groom. it means dakshina given BY groom. there is historical anecdotes of poor brahmin boys being unable to marry because they couldn't give this dakshina, and later getting the money by devotion/miracle, and then marrying.
    – ram
    Jul 28, 2018 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


The exact word mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan is Kanyaa Dhanam (कन्या धनम्). It was wilingfully (not demanded by grooms) given by king Janaka to his daughters.

As per Valmiki Ramayan: Bala Kanda: Sarga 74,

अथ राजा विदेहानाम् ददौ कन्या धनम् बहु |

गवाम् शत सहस्राणि बहूनि मिथिलेश्वरः || १-७४-३

कंबलानाम् च मुख्यानाम् क्षौमान् कोटि अंबराणि च |

हस्ति अश्व रथ पादातम् दिव्य रूपम् स्वलंकृतम् || १-७४-४

ददौ कन्या शतम् तासाम् दासी दासम् अनुत्तमम् |

Then that king Janaka of Mithila, the one from Videha lineage, gave innumerable kanyaa dhanam (girl's [patrimonial] riches). He has also given umpteen number of cows, millions of excellent shawls and silk dresses, and elephants, horses, chariots, foot soldiers, besides hundreds of highly decorated girls, divine in their mien, as unexcelled chambermaids and handmaidens to the brides. [1-74-3, 4, 5a]

हिरण्यस्य सुवर्णस्य मुक्तानाम् विद्रुमस्य च || १-७४-५

ददौ राजा सुसंहृष्टः कन्या धनम् अनुत्तमम् |

King Janaka gave beau idéal bridal riches in gold, silver, pearls and corals even, for he is very highly gladdened as Seetha's marriage came true

Shloka says that it was given to the brides and not to the grooms. So it was not Varakatnam (as defined in your Question) but something similar to this with slight variations.

It was custom to give cloths and jewelry etc at the time of giving a bid adieu to women. For example, Anasuya and Vibhishana (or Trijata) also gifted these things to Sita when they bid adieu to her.


How many types of marriages are there according to Hindusim?

  • Thank you for your answer. But why did kanyasulkam come into existence?
    – user15926
    Jul 28, 2018 at 13:48
  • @user15926 There are many types of marriages... It seems kanyasulkam came into existence from Asura Vivah ... See the related Q (mentioned in last part of the answer) for more info...
    – YDS
    Jul 28, 2018 at 14:15
  • @user15926 this is just giving the woman jewels and ornaments in marriage and making her look well, that is all.
    – Haridasa
    Mar 10 at 1:24

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