Best answer for Judiciary preparation as well as LLB students
Hindu marriage as per Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is a ceremonial sacramental marriage and it must be solemnized in accordance with customary rights and ceremonies of one of the two parties and in case essential customary rights and ceremonies of atleast one is not performed than there can be no solemnization of marriage and in that case it will be no marriage at all.
Further, marriage in Hindu law has been considered as Sanskar and earlier it was considered indissoluble union too. In otherwords, unlike contract, it cannot be broken and it was considered an eternal union forever.
Hindu marriage is performed by the performance of religious rituals normally before the sacred fire and is considered sacred act which results into the holy union of not only two individuals rather of two families.
This ceremonial marriage can be performed between two Hindus only and not between Hindu and Christian or Hindu and Muslim etc as the religious character will be lost.
Now the whole character of Hindu marriage has got the various changes due to later development in Hindu Marriage Act. First, it has not remain an indissoluble union as there is provision for divorce on various grounds and even divorce by mutual consent (u/s 13, 13A, 13B of HMA). We have introduced even the criterion which was not there earlier and right now bridegroom should be 21 years and bride should be atleast 18 years for a valid marriage.
Furthermore, the new act imports the criterion of the capability of valid consent and soundness of mind at the time of marriage which is again the requirement of the valid contract.
Furthermore, an obligation to pay maintenance, the remedy of restitution and question of the mental capacity of either party brings closer to contract.
Thus, we can say that Hindu Marriage is not only an essential sacramental today but it has acquired contractual character as well, so in that sense, it has assemblance of both but essentially it remains sacramental as the performance of ceremonial rites and rituals is still necessity without which Hindu marriage can never be performed.