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Centuries-old traditional Ker Puja begins in Tripura
TIWN July 26, 2022
Centuries-old traditional Ker Puja begins in Tripura
PHOTO : Centuries-old traditional Ker Puja begins in Tripura. TIWN Pic July 26, 2022

AGARTALA, July 26 (TIWN): Centuries-old traditional festival in Tripura called Ker Puja has started. It starts 15 days after Kharchi Puja The area in and around the royal palace here as well as Puran Habeli, the erstwhile capital of Tripura, around 12 km east of this city, have been notified for Ker Puja.

"Ker Puja starts midnight Friday and will continue uninterrupted for over 30 hours, permits no deaths, births or even recreation within a notified area recreation within a notified area. No outsiders are allowed to enter either, and anyone violating the rules has to pay” said a priest.

"The customary rules and conventions of Ker Puja are most strict and not easy to follow. All pregnant women, the diseased and dying are kept out of the specified puja area. No one is allowed to enter the notified area” added the priest.

The puja rituals are carried out at government expense as the Tripura government has been holding good its promise to the state's erstwhile royal family for over six decades to organize the puja.

During Ker Puja, all kinds of amusement, recreation and ceremonies are banned in the notified areas.

Besides the Ker Puja in Agartala and Puran Habeli, also known as old Agartala, rituals take place in almost all indigenous populated villages towards the end of the year or at the end of the harvesting season.

The literal meaning of 'Ker' in tribal Kokborok language is a specified area. Time-honoured beliefs lie behind the ritualistic invocation during the festival.

A structure constructed with green bamboo poles serves as the deity for Ker Puja. The 'chantais', or head priest, is regarded as the king on the occasion.

At the end of the 517-year rule by 184 kings, Oct 15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state of Tripura came under the control of the Government of India, according to a merger agreement signed with Kanchan Prabha Devi, then regent maharani. The agreement made it obligatory for the Tripura government to continue the sponsorship of temples, pujas and festivals earlier organized by the royals. And it continues to this day.

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