Charak Puja

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Charak Puja
Charak Puja - Narna - Howrah 2014-04-14 0411.JPG
Charak Puja is being performed at village Narna, Howrah. 14 April 2014.
Also called Nil Puja, Hajrha Puja
Observed by Hindus
Type Hindu

Charak Puja (also known as Nil Puja) is a Hindu folk festival, held in southern Bangladesh and West Bengal on the last day of the month of Chaitra (in Bengali calendars called Choitro).

Similar festival in Maharashtra is called Bagad, while in Vizianagram, Andhra Pradesh it is called as Sirimanu utsavam.

People believe that the festival will carry prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. The festival is actually a festival to satisfy "Lord Shiva", the great "Debadideb" of Hindu Religion. Though the festival takes place on the mid night of Chaitra Songkranti, the preparation phase usually starts before one month of the day.

The arrangement team of the festival go from village to village to procure the necessary components like paddy, oil, sugar, salt, honey, money and other items with the arranged cosmetics such as Shiva, Parvati and Narod. The cosmetic Shiva is locally called "Nil Pagol" or "Jal Katha". On midnight of the Songkranti, the worshippers are gathered together to worship the God and after puja the prasad is distributed.

Illustration of Charak Puja from Twenty-four plates illustrative of Hindoo and European Manners in Bengal (1832) by Sophie Charlotte Belnos (1795-1865)

In one place, it is also known as "Hajrha Puja". The woman doesn't take the meal before Puja on this day. Sometimes in this festival a human "Charak" is made ready to satisfy the Lord Shiva. The "Charak" is tied with a hook (Borshi) on his back and then he is moved around a bar with a long rope. Though it is risky, they arrange it.

Charak Puja in Bangladesh[edit]

In Bangladesh, it is frequently found to take place at Thakurgaon district, Galachipa Upazila of the Patuakhali District. Goalkhali, Gabua, Haridebpur, Lalua, Lohalia and other villages are well known for "Charak Puja". Though the aristocracy and fluency of the festival is being deemed now, there are some who are arranging it every year with great devotion and dedication. It is a part of their life. The Most popular festival "Charak Puja" found at places like Dholar hat, Akcha, Gorea, Khochabari(Singia), Hothath para at Thakurgaon Sadar, same places of Tripura Dhalai District like Kamalpur and Kulai

Bagad & Sirimanu[edit]

In Maharashtra Bagad (Marathi language: बगाड) in Andhra pradesh Sirimanu festival is a religious festive tradition, where in ceremonial pole from auspicious tree is venerated in some village jatras in honour of local deities in Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh state of India. Bagad is a similar concept to Charak Puja, Gajan (festival) or Indian parallel of Mexican Danza de los Voladores.

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