Charak Puja
Also called Nil Puja, Hajrha Puja
Observed by Hindus
Type Hindu

Charak Puja is a very enchanting folk festival of the Southern Belt of Bangladesh and West Bengal. It is also known as "Nil Puja". The believers of the Hindu religion celebrate this on the last day of Chaitra (Chaitra Songkranti).

People believe that the festival will carry prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. The festival is actually a festival to satisfy "Lord Shiva", the great "Debadideb" of Hindu Religion. Though the festival takes place on the mid night of Chaitra Songkranti, the preparation phase usually starts before one month of the day.

The arrangement team of the festival go from village to village to procure the necessary components like paddy, oil, sugar, salt, honey, money and other items with the arranged cosmetics such as Shiva, Parvati and Narod. The cosmetic Shiva is locally called "Nil Pagol" or "Jal Katha". On midnight of the Songkranti, the worshippers are gathered together to worship the God and after Puja the "Prosad" is distributed.

In one place, it is also known as "Hajrha Puja". The woman doesn't take the meal before Puja on this day. Sometimes in this festival a human "Charak" is made ready to satisfy the Lord Shiva. The "Charak" is tied with a hook (Borshi) on his back and then he is moved around a bar with a long rope. Though it is risky, they arrange it.

Charak Puja in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, it is frequently found to take place at Galachipa Upazila of the Patuakhali District. Goalkhali, Gabua, Haridebpur, Lalua, Lohalia and other villages are well known for "Charak Puja". Though the aristocracy and fluency of the festival is being deemed now, there are some who are arranging it every year with great devotion and dedication. It is a part of their life.

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