Ker Puja is celebrated two weeks after Kharchi Puja, another popular holiday, primarily in the small, Northeastern Indian state of Tripura. It’s a two and half-day holiday for worshipping Ker, the guardian deity of Vastu Devata, and this year it is celebrated from July 11 to 13. All banks and government institutions in Agartala, the state capital, are usually closed for the three-day observance. Residents of the capital are not only required to be at home during the Puja but also desist from any form of merriment. If you ever visit Agartala around July or August and, to your surprise, find the city locked and silent in the morning, you probably have arrived during Ker Puja.
History of Ker Puja
We assume the Celebration of Ker Puja began over five centuries ago since it was among the holidays celebrated by former kings. Although there is no documented literature indicating the exact date the holiday began, the newly established Tripura government agreed with the regent of Tripura in 1949 that all pujas, temples, and religious festivals in the state would be sponsored. Because Ker Puja is observed two weeks after the celebration of Kharchi Puja, which doesn’t have a fixed date, it is observed on different dates of the year.
The celebration is primarily centered in Agartala and generally takes place from eight A.M to 10 A.M. On the day of the festival, the city’s entrance is locked and people from outlying areas are restricted from entering the area. Temporary restrictions are put on lighting fires, wearing shoes, dancing, and other forms of merriment. Any person who fails to observe these regulations is required to pay a fine and the Puja would have to start afresh. To prevent breaking the rules, the elderly, weak, and pregnant women are moved to nearby villages.
The royal palace of Tripura has long served as the principal site of the celebration. The Chantai, (head priest,) takes precedence over any other authority on the day. A large piece of bamboo is curved into a symbolic representation of Ker and is then swung around at such a speed as to produce a sound. The celebration is declared upon by a loud bang early in the morning and is closed by the same sound.
Ker Puja timeline
The dynasty worships the guardian deity, Ker, and begins to celebrate Ker Puja.
King Krishna Kishore Manikya shifts the capital from Old Agartala to present-day Agartala where the royal palace now stands as a museum.
The last of the Tripura kings, Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarma, dies to be replaced by his wife.
Queen Kanchan Prabha Devi, the wife of the last king, signs an agreement that instructs the Tripura government to continue sponsoring all pujas and temples earlier organized by the royals.
Ker Puja FAQs
Who started Ker Puja in Tripura?
Ker Puja is said to have been started by the Tripura monarchs of old, known simply as the Tripura Rajas.
Which queen of Tripura started Ker Puja?
The celebration of Kharchi Puja, a precursor to Ker Puja, is largely attributed to Queen Hirabati’s legendary story that took place at the river Maharani. Since Ker Puja is an extension of Kharchi Puja, the female monarch is associated with Ker Puja.
What is the meaning of ‘Ker?’
‘Ker’ is a designated area or boundary where no one is allowed into. That is why the city of Agartala is shut off from any visitors over Ker Puja.
How to Observe Ker Puja
Pray to Ker
If you’re spiritual, pray to the guardian deity, for peace, protection, and prosperity. Even if you’re not spiritual, you can explore other means.
Offer sacrifices to Ker
Whether goat or pigeon meat, offer a sincere and generous sacrifice to Ker. Offerings can also be smaller if you’re so inclined, such as fruits or special items.
Respect all rules
Observe the day by respectfully adhering to the rules and regulations set by authorities during the celebration. If the rules are not obeyed, there will be consequences.
5 Facts About Tripura That Will Interest You
It was an independent kingdom
Tripura was an independent Hindu kingdom before joining the Mughal Empire in the 1600s.
It has visually striking buildings
The Ujjayanta Palace and Neermahal are examples of the architectural brilliance in Tripura.
It has a floating grand palace
Neermahal is a magnificent palace built on Rudrasagar Lake.
Basic education is free
Children aged six to14 years are entitled to free education.
It has a high literacy rate
With a literacy rate of over 85%, Tripura is the third most literate state in India.
Why Ker Puja is Important
Allows a show of reverence to deities
Ker Puja is an indication that deities are greatly revered in Tripura. For those who are spiritual, it is a day of love and peace.
It halts violence
Because of the strict 'no disturbance' rule laid down during Ker Puja, violence of all kinds is kept at bay. This means the deities can be worshiped in peace and tranquility and celebrations don’t have any disruption.
It promotes cooperation
The Ker Puja celebration is a period where all inhabitants respect, to a large degree, the regulations set for a peaceful celebration. We love any occasion whereby people can come together and celebrate.
Ker Puja dates