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- Along with the blessings of Chaturdash Devata PM expressed his desire for peace and prosperity on this occasion.
- The preparation of Kharchi Puja festival is going on in state of Tripura.
- It is one of the biggest festivals of Northeast
- Chaturdasa Devata, the ancestral deity of the Tripuri people, is worshipped during this festival.
- On 26th June 2023, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha inaugurated the Kharchi Puja.
- At Chaturdash Devata Temple of Agartala, he inaugurated Kharchi Festival and Exhibition- 2023.
- He offered prayers to 14 Deities for the well-being of the people & overall welfare of the state.
- In 2023 the festival started on June 26 and the festivity will continue till July 2.
- It is a century-old annual traditional festival of Hindu tribal which is considered the biggest Hindu tribal festival in the northeastern region.
- This festival of 14 gods falls on the Shukla Ashtami day of lunar month Ashadha, as per hindu calendar, and carried out for seven days.
- Hence it is observed on the eighth day of the new moon in July or August every year.
- Originally a tribal festival to celebrate tribal identity, it is now celebrated by people of all community and religions.
- It highlights the spiritual and cultural spirit of the state and showcases the rich history and traditions of the community.
- The word ‘Kharchi’ is derived from two Tripuri words–‘khar’ or kharta meaning sin and ‘chi’ or si meaning cleaning. Hence this festival is meant to wash away the sins of mortal souls.
- It is also a ritual to clean the Earth after her menstruation is over.
Celebrations and worship
- Celebrations start with the recitation of sacred and religious hymns and mantras, invoking the blessings of the 14 deities namely Shiva, Durga, Vishnu, Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik, Ganesha, Brahma, Abadhi (God of water), Chandra, Ganga, Agni, Kamdev and Himadri (Himalaya).
- An atmosphere of spiritual fervour is created by celebration of people with colourful marquees, illumination, folk dance, religious rites and chanting of ‘mantras’ amid drum beats.
- People also enjoy fair and the associated cultural programmes
- Thousands of devotees who participate in this festival are not just from India but from neighbouring state of Bangladesh.
Processions and Worship
- It starts with colourful procession accompanied by the Tripura police music band.
- The construction of the Chaturdasha Mandapa, constructed by traditional artisans using bamboo and thatched roofs, is an important ritual of the festival.
- Chaturdasha Mandapa symbolises the royal palace of the Tripuri kings.
- The idols of 14 deities are decorated with different flowers, traditional attires, ornaments, and vermillion paste.
- On the main Puja day, these idols are taken for a holy bath to Hawrah river and then carried back to temple.
- This procession, carried by the royal priest Chantai, starts from the ancient Ujjayanta Palace.
- In the way to river thousands of devotees joins for the customary holy bath and receive Prasad, different varieties of sweets, as blessings of Deities.
- This festival encourages the younger generation to imbibe the essence of their ancestral rituals.
- The Krishna Manikya Bahadur (1760-1761) shifted the capital from southern Tripura’s Udaipur to Puran Habeli in 1760 which remained capital of then undivided Tripura till 1838.
- In 1838, Agartala was made the capital of Tripura by king Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur.
- The temple of 14 Gods constructed at that time still stands.
- The then Tripura included the regions of Sylhet, Brahmanbaria and Comilla districts of then East Pakistan and now Bangladesh.
- In October 1949, Tripura maharani Kanchan Prabha Devi signed a merger agreement with the Indian Governor General and Tripura came under the control of the Indian government.
- As per this merger Tripura government should continue the sponsorship of 14 temples including the Mata Tripura Sundari Temple
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Festivals like Kharchi Puja are a celebration of customary traditions of tribal in northeast India which imbibe the elements of brotherhood. Discuss how the constitutional goals of minimal coordination and unity are strengthened by such festivals. (250 Words)