In olden days, it was a common practice for the girls to choose their husband through some process - Swayamvar or just like that. Many Swayamvar and such processes are famous of those times. Who could not choose heir husbands with the consent of their family they used to manage their abduction by their lovers. Seetaa and Draupadee's Swayamvar; Paarvatee and Saavitree's selection of their husbands; and Rukminee and Subhadraa's abduction are the well-known examples for them. The most modern and well famous example of the abduction is of Prithviraaj Chauhaan abducting Sanyogitaa.
Sometimes these Swayamvar were arranged on the basis of some condition, as whoever will fulfill such and such condition, the girl would choose the same as her husband. Many times these conditions were put to test the strength of the groom, or intellect of the groom, or keeping in view of the groom himself. Here are some strange conditions put for the marriage of various girls ---
Seetaa was the daughter of the King Janak of Mithilaa kingdom. Seetaa's Swayamvar's condition was that whoever would be able to handle a particular bow, only he would be able to marry Her. Many kings and princes came but were not able to even move it. Then Raam came and He was able to handle it so Seetaa chose Him as Her husband.
The reason of putting this condition was that once Seetaa moved this bow while cleaning the place where it was kept. Janak got very surprised to hear this, as how Seetaa, a girl, could move that old heavy bow which needed thousands of people to move it. On the same day he had decided that he would marry his daughter to the same who would be able to handle that bow. It was an old bow of Shiv and its name was Kindhur.
Draupadee was the daughter of the King Drupad. Drupad put the condition of her marriage to that groom who will pierce the eye a revolving fish above looking at the shadow of that fish down below in a pond of oil. Many princes came but could not even the move the bow by which they had to pierce the eye of that fish. Karn had lifted the bow, and perhaps he might have pierced the eye also, but Draupadee refused to marry him saying that she would not marry a Soot-Putra (a son born to a Kshatriya man and a Braahman woman). Later Arjun, in the guise of a Braahman, pierced the eye of the fish and married Draupadee.
The origin of this condition is very strange. Kaurav and Paandav's Guru Drone had an enmity with King Drupad. So when Kaurav and Paandav's education was over, he asked them to bring Drupad to him by tying him from the rope behind their chariot. Kaurav could not do this, but Paandav did it. When Drupad saw Arjun fighting with him, he was so impressed with his warfare techniques that he wished for a daughter - "If I had a daughter I would have married her to him." Later he wanted to kill Drone, so he performed a Yagya to get such a son. Fortunately or unfortunately first he got a daughter (Draupadee) from that Yagya and later he got the son (Dhrishtdyumn) to kill Drone. Seeing Draupadee he got very happy that his wish would be fulfilled. Then he built that machine (fish machine) keeping in view Arjun that only he could pierce the eye of that fish and he would marry Draupadee to him. Since Paandav were living in hiding as Braahman, first Drupad got very disappointed, but later on when he came to know that only Arjun had taken his daughter, he got very happy.
Naagnjitee was the daughter of the King Nagnjeet, King of Ayodhyaa. Krishn married her by putting one role in 78 difficult bull's noses together in one time.
How this condition came to Nagnjit's mind is not known, it seems that he was looking for some extraordinary groom who could tie those 7 difficult bulls with one rope in one time by piercing their noses with that rope.
Lakshmanaa was the daughter of the King Brihatsen of Madra Desh. He married her with the same condition as that of Draupadee's condition - piercing the eye of the fish.
Rukminee - by Kidnapping
Rukminee was the daughter of the King Bheeshmak. Rukminee wanted to marry Krishn, Her father also agreed for it, but her brother Rukmee did not want to marry her to Krishn. he wanted to marry Her to Shishupaal. So Rukminee sent this message to Krishn and Krishn abducted Her from the temple.
Mitravrindaa - by Kidnapping
Mitravrindaa was the daughter of Krishn's Booaa (Vasudev's sister) Raajaadhi Devee. She wanted to marry Krishn but her family did not her to marry to Him, so Krishn kidnapped her from her Swayamvar.
Subhadraa - by Kidnapping
Subhadraa was the sister of Krishn and Balaraam. Subhadraa used to love Arjun since her childhood, although she had never seen him. It was because Saatyaki studied under Drone along with Paandav and he described him very favorably. Once Shakuni advised Duryodhan to strengthen his relationship with Krishn and so marry Subhadraa. When Duryodhan took the training of Gadaa war from Balaraam he asked him a favor and that was to marry Subhadraa to him. balaraam was very pleased with him so he agreed. But krishn wanted to marry her to Arjun as she also loved him. So when Krishn heard this, He opposed and arranged her abduction by Arjun from the temple.
Sanyogitaa - by Kidnapping
While we are talking about all these kidnappings, it will not be inappropriate to mention the most modern kidnapping for marriage purpose. This was a strange way of kidnapping. Sanyogitaa was the daughter of the King Jayachand. Although Sanyogitaa wanted to marry Prithveeraaj Chauhaan but Jayachand did not to marry her to him, so at the time of her Swayamvar, he put an iron statue of Prithveeraaj at the door of the Swayamvar place. When her Swayamvar was taking place, she put her Jayamaalaa in that statue's neck in the absence of Prithveeraaj. Prithveeraaj was hiding near the place. As Sanyogitaa put her Jayamaalaa in that statue's neck, Prithveeraaj came from hiding riding on his horse and ran away carrying Sanyogitaa on his horse.
Satee - by Selection
Satee was the daughter of Prajaapati Daksh and Prasooti. She decided to marry Shiv in spite of the opposition of her father. So she married him. Later she had to suffer for her decision, She had to die in her father's Yagya Shaalaa.
Saavitree - by Selection
Saavitree was the daughter of the King of Ashwapati of Madra Desh. She was so qualitative that the King himself could not search a groom for her, so he sent her to search a groom for herself. She selected an unfortunate prince living in forest. When she came to know that he was going to live only for one year, she still did not leave him and married him.
Damayantee - by Selection
Damayantee was the daughter of King Bheem of Vidarbh Desh. She loved King Nal of Nishadh Desh. She was so beautiful that even Devtaa wanted to marry her. They even sent a message of this matter to Damayantee, but since she loved only Nal, she chose him over Devtaa. Later she had to suffer for her selection.
These are some examples of Swayamvar, kidnappings and self selection in choosing the husband.