Tamar (Ranchi), May 15 : People in Jharkhand's Tamar Village, 75 kilometers from Ranchi, the State capital recently celebrated their favourite Koka festival that is devoted to Lord Shiva.
Koka festival is also known as "Chaitra Parv" because of its celebration in Chaitra month as per Hindu calendar.
On this occasion, the major attraction is a big religious procession. Large number of people converge from far off places arrive to participate in this procession.
Devotees wear colourful attires as a mark of devotion. The festival's unusual form distinguishes it from other kinds of festivals.
The religious procession commences from the village pond and is spearheaded by the chief priest or, the Paat Bhakta. He is escorted by devotees, who carry sticks in their hands till they reach the village's Lord Shiva temple.
The dance that is performed on drumbeats creates a mood of zest.
Villagers, who arrive on this occasion from neighbouring villages watch this unique procession with joy and devotion.
Ratanlal Rai, a devotee, said: "We have been celebrating this festival like this since 1913-14. This is the Puja of Lord Shiva. During the festival, we observe fast for a week. We celebrate the festival beating drums, dancing and merry-making, as if relatives of Lord Shiva are accompanying him on His wedding day."
Koka lead rest of the participating devotees in the procession.
Lakhicharan Seth, one Koka Bhakta, said: "We wish before God to keep our family and people well. Each year during the festival, some people dress as Koka and some as Bhakta."
Koka festival is celebrated with deep reverence by people of Tamar village. It also evokes devotion and respect of every village around. The festival is held to show gratitude of devotees to Lord Shiva. By Girija Shankar Ojha