Ker Puja is an annual festival celebrated in the state of Tripura, India. During this festival, Prime Minister Modi extended his wishes for happiness, unity, good health, and prosperity to the people of Tripura. The term “Ker” signifies austerity and the festival takes place two weeks after Kharchi Puja. In the local tribal language called Kokborok, “Ker” denotes a boundary or a specific area. It is a revered occasion dedicated to the guardian deity of Vastu, known as Ker Devata.
The Ker Puja follows a specific process as outlined below:
- Initiation: The puja is initiated by the Tripura raja at the royal Ujjayanta palace in Tripura.
- Demarcation with Green Bamboo: During the Ker Puja, a designated area is marked off and enclosed by a large piece of green bamboo, symbolizing Ker.
- Puja Timing: The puja generally takes place in the morning, preferably from 8 A.M. to 10 A.M.
- Closure of Entry Points: For a duration of 2.5 days during the puja, all entry points to the capital city are closed, preventing any entry or exit.
- Relocation of Vulnerable Individuals: Elderly individuals, weak individuals, and expectant mothers are relocated to nearby villages during the puja for their safety.
- Temporary Restrictions: The puja imposes temporary restrictions, such as abstaining from wearing shoes, lighting fires for specific participants, and refraining from engaging in amusement, recreation, and general ceremonies.
- Offerings and Sacrifices: During Ker Puja, offerings and sacrifices are made to please the gods, seeking the welfare of the villages and protection from calamities, epidemics, and external threats.
It is important to note that these steps may vary slightly based on local customs and traditions followed during the Ker Puja celebration in Tripura.
History and Background
- The Ker Puja is believed to be an ancient tradition that dates back at least five centuries, although there is no documented evidence to support its exact origins. It is widely believed that the Manikya Dynasty, which existed in the 15th century, initiated the practice of worshipping Ker.
- In 1949, an agreement was signed by the regent queen at that time, Kanchan Prabha Devi. According to this agreement, the Tripura government took responsibility for the expenses associated with all pujas and temples that were previously under the patronage of the royal family.
- These historical details shed light on the long-standing nature of the Ker Puja tradition and the role of the Tripura government in supporting the associated pujas and temples.
The act of bringing everyone together during the Ker Puja fosters a sense of unity and cohesion among the participants. This collective gathering promotes a shared bond and a feeling of togetherness within the community.
Furthermore, the puja encourages and nurtures devotion among the participants. Through the rituals and ceremonies, individuals develop a spiritual connection to nature, recognizing and acknowledging the divine presence in the natural world. This connection enhances their sense of reverence and deepens their spiritual experiences during the Ker Puja.