Kharchi Puja (1st July)
1st July 2017 marks the celebration of the annual Hindu festival that is extremely popular in the north-eastern state of Tripura and is known as Kharchi Puja. Every year, this festival falls either in the month of July or August, and in Agartala, the capital of Tripura state, devotees celebrate the festival in full swing by worshipping 14 gods that form the dynasty deity of these people in Tripura, known as the Tripuri people. The word ‘’Kharchi’’ comes from the amalgamation of two Tripuri words, which are: Khar—meaning ‘’sin’’ and chi or si—meaning ‘’cleaning.’’ And thus, the festival symbolizes cleansing of sins, as the word ‘’Kharchi’’ literally means the cleaning of sins from the minds of the people, and thus, Kharchi Puja denotes the same. In other contexts, it also refers to the cleansing of the kingdom, meaning, eradicating all sins from the state of Tripura as per the beliefs of the devotees of this religious festival.
Kharchi Puja takes place after 15 days of Ambu Bachi. As per traditional beliefs, Ambu Bachi refers to the period when mother Earth undergoes menstruation and thus, the grounds become unholy. Citing this belief, during this period, Tripuris don’t plough or dig any soil anywhere. Menstruation there is considered to be unholy and for this very reason, any woman undergoing menstruation during this time is prohibited to participate in any religious functions. Even those priests whose wives are menstruating are prohibited from performing any religious rituals. Kharchi Puja after 15 days of this time period is thus believed to be an event that cleanses the unholy earth from this menstrual period of mother Earth.
The puja goes on for seven consecutive days and the main event is held at Old Agartala, at the temple of fourteen gods. The 14 deities in this temple during the puja are worshipped, offered prayers to, taken to river Saidra for holy bath and then returned to the temple, fully amid chanting. People from Tripura as well as other states participate in this festival and a lot of cultural programmes too take place as the festival is celebrated.
Featured Image Source: tripura-infoway.com