Hindu religion has accorded vivāha or marriage the status of a ‘saṁskāra,’ a sacrament that purifies the embodied soul in its journey towards perfection. Generally eight forms of marriage are described, out of which the ‘ārṣa’ (derived from the ṛṣis or sanctioned by the Vedas) is the third. In this form of marriage, the father of the bride gifts her away to a suitable man after accepting one or two pairs of cattle (cow, bull) as a gift, to fulfil the law and not as a sale of the girl. The kanyādāna (gifting of the maiden) is done in a ceremonial way.
See also VIVĀHA.