Kharchi Puja - A celebration of the history and cultural heritage of Tripura

The Northeast Dialogue

India is known for its rich cultural heritage with each Indian state having its distinct traditions and festivals. 

Kharchi is one of the most popular festivals in Tripura. Also called the ‘Festival of 14 Gods’. The word ‘Kharchi’ is derived from two Tripuri words–‘khar’ or kharta meaning sin and ‘chi’ or si meaning cleaning. It is believed that the Mother Goddess or Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the land who protects the people of Tripura, menstruates during the time of Ambubachi, which is observed in June. 

This festival takes place 15 days after Ambu bachi or Ambu pechi. Ambu pechi symbolizes the menstruation of the Mother Goddess or Earth Mother as per Tripuri folklore. There is a popular belief that the Earth becomes impure during the menstruation period of the Goddess. Hence, Kharchi Puja is observed to ritualistically clean the Earth after her menstruation is over and wash away the sins of the people in the land. 

Kharchi puja lasts for seven days, the festivals is held at Old Agartala, at the temple premises of fourteen gods. On day of puja, the fourteen deities are carried by members of chantai or the chief priest , taken to river Saidra, it is bathed in the holy water and brought back to temple. They are placed in the temple again, decorated by various flowers, put up vermillion in the fore head of deities. 

To this day Kharchi Puja is still a major religious festival of Tripura. With the passage of time much has changed but the Chauddha Devta – the Fourteen Deities still command the same respectin the hearts of the people.Kharchi Puja is not just another festival but a celebration of the history and cultural heritage of Tripura.


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