Agartala, Apr. 14 (ANI): Tripura on Tuesday celebrated folk festival Charak Puja, with the participants observing strict penance as well as undergoing extreme physical pain and stress.
Traditionally practiced by the rural communities, Charak Puja is held on the last day of Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar and celebrates the marriage of the sun and the earth. The festival is devoted to the Shiva and Durga.
"This puja has been held since time immemorial and the traditions still continue. It involves the worship of Shiva and Durga. In the idol, one sees a single head consisting of two faces, which is called 'Charak'," Nepal Hrishi Das, a devotee said.
The Charak, which comes from the word 'chakra' or the wheel, represents the movement of the Sun. It is symbolised by a high pole, from which a devotee is hung. The person then swings around the pole with the help of a strong rope. Charak Puja is performed by usually ten to twelve members, including both men and women.
The participants of the ritual are called 'Charkia', while the main performer is called 'Deoboinshi'.
The Charak Puja starts with a month of fasting, where the devotees live strictly on a fruit diet. On the day of Charak, a tree is erected. The average height of the tree is around 15 feet, and devotees hang suspended from hooks, as a symbolic sacrifice to Lord Shiva.
The excitement reaches to apex when the performers rise and without a single wound. There are yet other devotees whose body can be seen overhanging from a hook fixed to the Charak tree.
The devotees believe that the Charak Puja helps one reach salvation. (ANI)