New Delhi, Aug 3: Ker Puja is a festival predominantly celebrated in Tripura, a state in the Northeast part of India. This is held a few weeks after Kharchi Puja, and is the tribal festival held in order to worship the deity of Vastu Devata. People believe that the former rulers in the past used to perform this Puja for the general welfare and well being of the people of the state.
What is Ker Puja?
Ker is considered the guardian deity of Vastu Devata. A large piece of bamboo bent in a particular fashion assumes the image of Ker and is fast rotated to produce a sound. The 'chantais', or head priest, is regarded as king on the occasion. Ker Puja is the strictest Puja done by the people because of the association of various beliefs and aspects.
Pic courtesy: thegreenerpastures.com
The Ker Puja starts around 8 am to 10 am in the morning hours. People are not allowed to speak or laugh once the Puja starts. This Puja is done to defend the interest of the people from any misfortune, disease and poverty. The other reason is to save people from any external violence. Offering and sacrifices are an important part of Ker Puja. Dancing and rejoicing is done by the devotees after the Puja.
Pic courtesy: www.tripura.org.in
The literal meaning of Ker is a boundary or specified area from where no one is allowed to enter or come out for two and a half days during the celebration.
Pic courtesy: breathtakingindia
All kinds of amusement, recreation and ceremonies banned
No pregnant woman or critically ailing person is allowed in the sacred puja precinct. Any kind of entertainment, dancing, singing and movement of animals are barred in the specified Ker Puja area. Anyone who violates is made to pay a fine and the puja starts from scratch. The rituals are carried out at the government's expense as per an agreement between the Tripura government and the erstwhile royal family.
Pic courtesy: www.tripurainfoway.com
Banks and all government institutions will be closed on this day. Besides Agartala and Puran Habeli, the puja is organised in almost all tribal villages towards the end of the year or at the end of the harvesting season.