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3-day long ‘Charak Puja’ begins at Purba Pratapgarh Rishi Colony; Deputy Mayor Manika Das Datta attend event

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By TC News Desk

Agartala, 13th April 2024:   The vibrant and spirited ‘Charak Puja’, a cornerstone of Bengali folk culture, was celebrated with traditional fervor and a host of unique rituals marking the arrival of the New Year according to the Bengali calendar. This year’s festivities, held at the Pratapgarh English Medium School Maidan in the peripheries of Agartala city.

‘Charak Puja’, also known as ‘Neel Puja’, ‘Gambhira Puja’, or ‘Shiber Gajan’, is a festival deeply rooted in religious and social significance, culminating on Chaitra Sankranti, the last day of the Bengali month of Chaitra. The festival, which heralds the first two days of the New Year, is a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the Bengali Hindu community’s most important folk festivals.

The preparations for the puja begin a day prior, with the ceremonial cleansing of the chadak tree. A vessel brimming with water cradles the Shiv Linga, revered as ‘Buroshiv’ by the devotees, symbolizing Lord Shiva. The rituals are led by ‘poor’ Brahmins, a tradition that adds to the puja’s distinct character.

The ‘Charak Puja’ is renowned for its array of unique and daring rituals, including crocodile worship, hazardous leaps over blades, walking on smoldering coals, and the symbolic marriage of Shiva. Other highlights include arrow firing, fire dances, Dano-barano or Hazara puja, and the dramatic swinging of firewood. These acts of devotion draw crowds from across the region, eager to witness the spectacle and partake in the communal spirit.

Agartala Municipal Corporation’s Deputy Mayor Manika Das Datta graced the occasion, expressing her delight at the turnout and the enthusiasm of the devotees. “This year, we are celebrating the 76th Charak Puja, meticulously organized by local entrepreneurs. The three-day program has attracted people from all corners, reflecting the deep cultural resonance of this festival,” said Datta.

As the celebrations took place, the air is filled with the echoes of the childhood rhyme ‘Amra Duiti Bhai, Shiber Gajan Gai,’ a nostalgic reminder of the festival’s cultural imprint. The ‘Charak Puja’ remains a vibrant expression of faith, unity, and tradition, continuing to captivate the hearts of the Bengali community year after year.

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