Charak Puja is one of the most celebrated Bengali festivals. The local people of "Nil Puja" . Mainly in the rural areas, members of agricultural communities widely celebrate this festival. The believers of Hindu religion celebrate this on the last day of Chaitra (Chaitra Songkranti). They believe that it will carry prosperity for them eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. The arrangement team of the festival go from village to village to procure the necessary components like paddy, oil, sugar, salt, honey, money etc. with the arranged and cosmetic Shiva, Parvati, Narod etc. In Shiva’s gajan Shiva is married to Harakali on this day. The sannyasis form the barjatri(bridegroom’s party). In Dharma’s gajan Dharmathakur is married to Mukti. and people who celebrate this puja have to undergo a long fasting. During this fasting session, the devotees cannot eat from morning to evening and suffers from extreme physical pain.During Charak Puja, people taking up Brata and undergoing fasting, are only allowed to eat fruits and are bound to worship Shiva in order to get his blessings.
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. Somewhere it is also known as "Hajrha Puja". Sometimes in this festival a human "Charak" is made ready to satisfy the Lord Shiva.
The groups of men and women, who take up this ‘Brata’ or the time bound ritual, have to go through a month long fasting from sunrise to sunset, live strictly on fruits & perform the daily worship in order to get the blessings of the lord. On the day of the ‘Charak’ or the ‘Gajan’, as it is also called, bamboo stages are made on bamboo poles, the height ranging from 10 to 15 feet. What follows is a macabre yet fascinating. The "Charak" is tied with a hook (Borshi) at his back and then he is moved round around a bar with a long rope. Though it is risky, they arrange it. and at a time one or more then two charak move with huks. and mail load Sheva throw fruits (mango) as symbol of blessing.
Mirzapur in Bangladesh. and villagers arranged this puja more than 100times, Usually this puja is held during the middle (14-15) of April. This festival is held on the day of Chaitra Samkranti.
Article and Images by Shahnaz Parvin