Kharchi Puja is celebrated annually on the eighth day of the new moon in July or August in Tripura, India. This year, it falls on July 22. Being one of the most popular festivals in Tripura, Kharchi Puja involves the worship of the dynasty deity of the Tripuri people, Chaturdasa Devata. It’s celebrated in Agartala, at the Chaturdasha Temple. During Kharchi Puja, the Chaturdasa Devata are taken out, carried to be bathed in the holy water, and returned to the temple. The celebrations last for seven days, and people from both tribal and non-tribal communities participate.
History of Kharchi Puja
The word ‘kharchi’ is derived from ‘khar,’ which means sin, and ‘chi,’ which means cleaning. Kharchi Puja is a ritual of cleaning the earth as well as worshipping the fourteen gods, performed after 15 days of Ama Pechi. It is believed that the earth mother or mother goddess menstruates during the period of Ama Pechi. There would be no plowing or digging in the soil during this time. Menstruation is considered unholy among the Tripuri people, so the earth is thought to be unclean during Ama Pechi. Kharchi Puja is performed to ritualistically cleanse the earth after the Ama Pechi is over.
Chaturdasa Devata or Fourteen Gods are kept locked in a room throughout the year. The gods are exhibited to the devotees only during the seven days of Kharchi Puja. On the first day, they are brought out of the room and bathed in the nearby river Howrah. After that, they are returned to the temple premises where they are worshipped by the royal priest. They are then taken to a separate room surrounded by an iron net. So, the devotees can see Chaturdasa Devata during these seven days. The devotees offer sacrifices such as he-goats, chickens, and pigeons.
Kharchi Puja holds great significance for the people from both tribal and non-tribal communities. It is said that Kharchi Puja is a tribal festival, but both tribal priests Chantai and Brahmins perform the rituals together. In Tripura, there used to be a communal conflict between the tribal and non-tribal communities. But, Tripura is now a very peaceful state. Kharchi Puja helps in restoring peace in this state. It’s a bridge between the two communities. Devotees, tribal and non-tribal, participate with equal enthusiasm, setting a good example of national integration.
Kharchi Puja timeline
The Chaturdasha Temple is built in honor of fourteen gods by King Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur of Tripura.
The Kingdom of Tripura joins the Indian Union on October 15.
Tripura becomes a Union Territory on July 1.
Tripura attains the status of a full-fledged state on January 21.
Kharchi Puja FAQs
Who started Kharchi Puja in Tripura?
Kharchi Puja was started by Maharaja Krishna Manikya Bahadur.
What is the language of Tripura?
The official languages of Tripura are Bengali, English, and Kokborok.
What is the famous food of Tripura?
Mui Borok is a traditional Tripuri cuisine, and it is one of the famous foods in Tripura.
How to Observe Kharchi Puja
Worship the gods
There’s nothing better to do than worshipping the gods on Kharchi Puja. Go to the Chaturdasha Temple. You’ll have seven days of opportunity to see the Chaturdasa Devata. Take your time.
Remember to bring holy offerings before you go to the temple. If you are already aware of this, that’s great.
Join the festival
There would be cultural programs held in the evening throughout the seven days of Kharchi Puja. Besides, a fair would also be organized to celebrate Kharchi Puja.
5 Facts About Tripura You Need To Know
There’s the famous Unakoti
Unakoti hill houses an ancient Shaivite place of worship with huge rock reliefs celebrating Shiva, dating back to the seventh to ninth centuries.
It’s home to the water palace
Neermahal is the largest water palace in India, situated in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake.
The basic education is free
Tripura provides free basic education for children in the age gap of six to 14 years.
It’s home to Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary has an area of around 7.15 square miles, and it’s home to endangered spectacled leaf monkeys.
There’s an ancient architectural site
Pilak is an archaeological site dating back to the eighth century, representing a heterodox culture of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Why Kharchi Puja is Important
Kharchi Puja is meant to cleanse the earth along with worshiping the 14 gods. Worship is a way of honoring the gods, and it may be an essential practice for some of us.
To generate peace
There used to be a communal conflict between the tribal and non-tribal communities. Kharchi Puja truly helps in restoring peace in this state, being a bridge between the two communities.
It’s a festival
During Kharchi Puja, there would be cultural programs and a fair. So, people not only worship the gods but can also have some fun.
Kharchi Puja dates