The north eastern state of Tripura is proud of a number of festivals that help the unique cultures and traditions survive. Kharchi puja is one of these events to showcase the state’s rich socio cultural heritage. The ethnic tribal people here believe that they have 14 god who originated in war and conflict. “Khar” means to flee while “Si” stands means “to know”. Thus, the festival revives an age old practice of escaping an impending danger with a set of strategies during a war. The gods were named in the kok-barok language. But the names were sanskritised after the royal family of Manikya accepted the Brahminic Hindu religion.
Since time immemorial, the people in this state have been observing a holy dip to symbolizing integration and amity. The annual event takes place on the eighth lunar day of the light fortnight of the month of Asadha or mid June for seven days. They worship the gods on the first day. Eleven of these gods are then packed up for the entire year. Small bamboos are used to symbolize the gods and a group of priests performs the religious ceremony where ‘Chantai’ takes the lead to be assisted by ‘Naran’, "Barifang’, ‘Yakchu’ ‘Galims’. ‘Galims’ are deployed to immolate the beasts. But Khapangtinai performs the vital role in Kharchi Puja.
There was a time when the puja was confined to the royal family of Tripura. But now a days, it involves many groups or people which presents before the tourists the mixed culture of Tripura. The tribal and non tribal people make it an occasion to throng the festival venue to worship the 14 gods with many songs and dances. That’s simply a strong message of brotherhood and bonhomie. The best place to visit during this festival is Agartala where the entire capital city gets transforms into an illuminating heaven on the earth.