The marriage ceremony of Tulasi Maharani with Krishna is called Tulasi Shaligrama vivaha. Tulasi devi is an incarnation of Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune and shaligrama shila is Lord Krishna Himself. This festival is celebrated all over India in the auspicious month of Karthika (Oct-Nov).
The festival is generally celebrated in the evening. Devotees decorate the pot of tulasi devi as a bride with red clothes and ornaments. They also adorn her branches with bangles and bindis. The tulasi is garlanded with fragrant rose flowers and turmeric root is used as a mangala-sutra. A delicious bhoga consisting of rice, puri, sweet rice, sugarcane, amla and tamarind are also offered to Tulasi Maharani and shaligrama shila as part of the marriage ceremony.
This festival is considered as important as Diwali to many Indians. Fireworks display adds to the grandeur of the festival. Anyone who witnesses this transcendental marriage of Tulasi Devi will have all of the sins of his life washed away.
Whoever plants Tulasi with devotion, collects her leaves for offering to Lord Vishnu, or installs her along with Vishnu will achieve mukti from this material world.
The story of Tulasi deva and Shaligrama shila
Tulasi devi is the most exalted devotee of Krishna. If one gets her mercy, one can easily progress on the path of devotional service. Padma Purana affirms that she is auspicious in all ways. Just by seeing, touching, remembering, praying, etc one attracts all auspiciousness. There are few pastimes related to the marriage of Krishna and Tulasi. One such pastime is as follows:
When Krishna was in Vrindavana, Tulasi-devi was one among the confidential maid servants of Srimati Radharani. After the guidance of Paurnamasi devi, she would arrange secret meetings between Radha and Krishna. She would choreograph the pastimes of Krishna like arranging fruits, saffron, etc.
Being pleased by her service, once Srimati Radharani arranged a beautiful throne and made Tulasi to sit next to Krishna. Then Lalita sakhi enacted as the priest and recited sacred hymns and performed the marriage of Krishna and Tulasi.
In other pastime Vrinda (Tulasi) married the demon Jalandhara who became very powerful due to the purity and the chastity of Vrinda. Even Lord Shiva could not defeat him in the battle. Hearing the pleas from the demigods, Lord Vishnu disguised as Jaladhara broke the chastity of Vrinda and thus the real Jalandhara was killed by Lord Shiva. When Vrinda heard of this truth, she immediately cursed Lord Vishnu to turn into stone due to his stone hearted behavior towards Jaladhara who was also the devotee of Lord Vishnu. As a honor to his devotee, Lord Vishnu accepted this curse and then turned to shaligrama shilas. In turn He blessed Vrinda Devi that she would recite as His eternal consort in Vaikunthaloka.
The pastimes of Lord Krishna are transcendental in nature. Tulasi-shaligrama vivaha is such a transcendental pastime. Hearing and chanting the pastimes of Krishna are very auspicious and this process has the potency to purify the following people involved: one who is narrating the pastime, one who is listening the pastime, and one who inquires about the pastimes of Krishna. These pastimes are like ganges water, which flows from the toe of Lord Narayana and which purifies all the planetary systems.