Origin of Kharchi Festival
As per a mythological legend, there lived a king named Tripur who used to reign over this region, and this tract of land was referred to as 'Tripur' in honour of this ruler. It is believed that King Tripur was an oppressive king who liked to torture his subjects, who finally prayed to Lord Shiva to protect them from the evil plots of the king. Pleased with the devotion of the people, Lord Shiva killed the tyrant ruler Tripur. However, after the death of the king, the anxieties of the subjects multiplied, instead of being alleviated. This occurred since they were left without a proper administrator. Worried, they again offered their prayers to Lord Shiva, who once again agreed to come to their assistance.
Lord Shiva promised them that King Tripur's widow queen Harabati would soon be blessed with a son, who would succeed to the royal throne, and his reign would usher in joy and contentment to the subjects of his kingdom. The queen was instructed to worship fourteen Hindu deities, which would ensure peace and prosperity in the kingdom, which included Lord Shiva or 'Hara', Lord Vishnu or 'Hari', Lord Ganesha or 'Siddidata', Lord Agni or God of Fire, Goddess Uma or wife of Lord Shiva, Goddess of the Earth or 'Prithvi', Lord Kama Deva or the God of Romance and Love, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Brahma or Creator of the Universe, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Kartikeya or 'Kumar', Goddess Ganga, God of Ocean or 'Samudra' and finally God of all Hills or 'Himalaya'. However, the local priests worship 'Burama', another Goddess during Kharchi Puja.
Rituals of Kharchi Festival
The idol which is worshipped is manufactured from stone and placed in a hut which is open on all the sides. This special hut is constructed atop a pucca plinth. Throughout the year, the deity is permitted to be laid at this very place. However, the priest worships this holy deity only during the occasion of Kharchi Puja. Married women, after applying vermilion on their heads must light candles and offer them to Goddess Burama, with devotion. This would enable them to conceive, and it is believed that Burama would shower Her blessings on them all.
Infertile ladies can also be blessed with children, if she worships Burama and offer a Puja. The sacrifice of numerous goats is the most defining element of the Kharchi festival. People belonging to various castes and creed are allowed to participate in this special ritual. A group of priests who are referred to as 'Galim' performs this sacrifice. Following the goat sacrifice, its body is returned to the person who has brought it, but the Galim keeps its head with themselves. Thereafter, some portion of the flesh and blood is offered to the fourteen Gods or Chaturdash Devata.
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