Another form of marriage, which existed in ancient times, was one by Swayamvara.The bride had the opportunity to select a husband amongst several suitors. The royalty of old times wanted to select a brave and righteous person. Invitations were sent to the nearby princes and the chieftains in different kingdoms. The bride was given the choice to select one from the gathered ones whom she selected by putting a garland round his neck and the marriage was complete. The marriage of Nala and Damayanti happened this way.

In the marriage between Prithviraj and Sanyukta, the bride had put a garland round the neck of a statue of Prithvirai. In certain cases, a test was conducted and the winner was garlanded as the bridegroom. This system was followed in Ramayana when Rama pulled the string of Shiva`s bow to marry Sita or in Mahabharata, where Arjuna shot through the eye of the revolving fish on the top of a pole to marry Draupadi.

Swayamvara has not been included in the eight forms of classical traditional marriages, but has been recognized as a form of Gandharva marriage. In this type of marriage, it is also possible that, at a time when the father permitted his daughter to choose her husband, love and courtship might have been the order of the day. In such cases, a passionate couple might have entered into a union without going through the religio-legal formalities. This could occur more frequently during wars. It is possible that later on, the union was legalized through a proper ceremony; therefore it was recognized as an approved form.

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