Tripura celebrates Lord Krishna's "Raas Lila": (Lead: Tripura)

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Agartala, Nov.13 : Thousands of Hindu Manipuris' celebrated "Maha Raas", a festival celebrating the love life of Lord Krishna, here.

The festival is celebrated every year on the full moon night of "Kartik Purnima" in the Hindu month - "Kartik" to mark Krishna's love for Radha.

Girls in their traditional dresses danced round the idols of Lord Krishna and Radha even as one acting as Gopi sang devotional songs throughout the night at a local temple.

The Maha Raas celebration started in Tripura more then two centuries ago .

Earlier before the partition of India devotees far from Syllhet and Comilla in present Bangladesh used to come to participate in the night- long festival.

The celebration started after a Maharani of the Manikya dynasty of Tripura, who was from Manipur's Maharaja Bhakta Chandra brought the idol of Radha-Gobind from there and established a Radhamadhav temple here.

Tripura had a cultural and traditional bond with the Manipur kingdom that started more than 350 years back through matrimonial alliances. In fact during the reign of Maharaja Krishina Chandra Manikya in the late 18th century along with the Manipuri culture, Bhakti cult was also in progress in Tripura.

This is the 211th year of celebration of Raas a festival . Along with Hindu Manipuri's both Bengali's and even the tribal population of the state, forgetting their religious and cultural identity, participate in the night-long celebrations. It has in fact turned into a platform where people get united forgetting their differences. They thus play a vital role in bringing back peace to Tripura which has been affected by violence for more than two decades.

Abhiram Singh, whose daughter is taking part in the dance festival said the "Maha Raas" is one of the most important festivals of the Manipuri's which is being celebrated here for more than two centuries. He said: In today celebration, people of all communities gather to celebrate the Radha Govinda "raas" and I think it is a common platform to forget our differences and love each other and get united. "

Krishna Devi, a senior Manipuri leader, said the festival is a historical festival of the Manipuris and people celebrate the Radha Govinda "raas" which is a classical form of dance and symbolizes the rich history and tradition of the Manipuri community. By Pinaki Das

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