Kharchi Puja
Kharchi Puja is one of the most important festivals of Tripura. Image: Northeast Now

The week-long Kharchi Puja began at Khayerpur in West Tripura district on Sunday morning amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Kharchi Puja is one of the most important festivals of Tripura.

During this festival, 14 deities are worshipped.

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, this year, the formal inauguration programme was cancelled.

The head priest, known as Raj Chantai, opened the Chaturdash Devata temple after a ceremonial procession.

He offered prayers marking the beginning of the Kharchi Puja festivities.

Even though the temple was well-illuminated for the festival, there was no congregation of devotees, which was unprecedented.

Additional security forces have been deployed in and around the temple to strictly enforce the COVID-19 guidelines like social distancing and wearing of masks.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb greeted the people on the auspicious occasion.

“This year the puja will be performed in the most restricted way due to COVID-19 pandemic. I pray to Chaturdash Devata (fourteen deities) to give us the strength to overcome the pandemic,” he said in a Facebook post.

MLA Ratan Chakraborty said this time only the rituals will be performed and devotees will not be allowed to offer prayers at the temple.

“Offering bhog and animal sacrifice will also not be allowed,” The MLA said.

“Only a group of 10 devotees are allowed to offer prayers at the temple during the festival. This time mela committee has also not been constituted and not a single stall has been set up,” he added.

“We urge the people to offer prayers to Chaturdash Devata from their respective homes. If the situation improves, there will be a mega-event next year,” he said.

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