Tripura's Kharchi Puja: Date, history and rituals
Fourteen priests performing the rituals of Kharchi Puja Credit: EastMojo image

Kharchi Puja is a prominent festival celebrated across Tripura. It is observed on the Shukla Paksha Ashtami (eighth lunar day) day in the month of Ashad, which usually takes place in July.

During Kharchi Puja, the people of Tripura worship 14 gods that comprise the dynastic deity of the Tripuri community. The rituals are observed for one week in the temple dedicated to the 14 gods, located in Agartala.

Date of Kharchi Puja 2022

In 2022, Kharchi Puja will be celebrated on July 22, Friday. Although festivities last for a week, state government declares a public holiday for one day.

History of Kharchi Puja

The word ‘Kharchi’ is derived from two words ‘Khar’ and ‘chi’ which means ‘sin’ and ‘chi’, respectively. So it is a festival where there is a ritual of cleaning the earth. During this festival, the people of Tripura also worship the earth along with their 14 deities. Although Kharchi Puja has tribal origins, it is celebrated by both tribal and non-tribal people of Tripura.

There is a popular belief that the mother goddess menstruates during the time of Ambubachi, which is observed in June. It is considered that the earth becomes impure during the mensuration period of the goddess. Kharchi Puja is observed with the belief that it ritualistically cleans the earth after her mensuration is over.

Rituals of Kharchi Puja 

The rituals of Kharchi Puja are observed for one week. On the day of the main puja, the idols of all the 14 deities are carried from the temple premises in Agartala to the holy Saidra river. Then they are dipped in the holy waters of the river and carried back to the temple. After bathing them in the river, the idols are decorated with vermillion paste and flowers.

Different varieties of sweets are distributed to the devotees as ‘prasad’. Goats, pigeons and buffaloes are offered as scarifies to the deities and then taken as prasad. A huge fair is also organised where the various cultural programme takes place throughout the day. Thousands of people take part in the cultural festivities.

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