Akhan Yatra in Ajodhya Hills

IMG_6609Today is the first day of Magha. This day has much significance in rural community in Purulia district, particularly in Chotanagpur plateau. People here call it the day of Akhan Yatra. It is the first day of the year. It is the most auspicious day of the year.
Day before Akhan Yatra community have already celebrated Makar dipping in the sacred rivers, rivulets , ponds or tanks. Thereby, they have cleansed their body and mind. Now ready for coming days with hope . Akhan Yatra is the beginning of prosperous days do they believe. Traditionally they start a happy journey praying to the Almighty for colourful and cheerful days.
Bishnu Charan of Kalimati left his bed in the very morning. He went to the farm-yard adjacent to home. With his spade he would now make ups-& downs of the Gobar-kur( where cowdung are stored). He will transfer the materials from right-side to left-side. They have strong believe that Bura-baba will sour blessings upon the family when they reshuffle cow-dung on Akhan-day. On returning from court-yard, Bishnu will be welcomed by his family members. In compliment, his feet will by washed – turmeric-water will be sprang upon his feet. Thus the first operation of agricultural operation starts in his family. This is the usual practice in every households of Kalimati,Baghmundi.
Agriculture based rituals are firmly interwoven in the lifestyle of Kurmis of Manbhum. Bishnu along with his family members would thereafter move to the farm. They will celebrate the Bura-baba there staying upon the large stone beside one of the plots. Bura-baba is offered with Sinni and ganja. They believe once bura-baba is pleased he would return good harvest.
Joydev Mahata & others starts Akhan Yatra in similar way. Local customs differ from one area to another. In Jhalda region, the cow-boy locally called Bagal goes to the field with plow, bulls & ropes. The boy will make three rounds in the field. The first ploughing is being made on the Akhan day. The bulls are given special diets. They are cleaned today. Sooner the cow-boy returns from the field, house-hold members will pour turmeric mixed oil in his ears. The boy will be offered with Dai(curd) & chira.
Raghunath Dhan of Baghmundi waits for the Akhan Day. Dhan has been caring the pair of pigeons for the last three months. He would reach to the Matha-buru hills afternoon. Many others from the locality visit the place today. They will let free pigeons for peace & eternity. They all enjoy Matha-buru parab equally. They feel ecstasy while flagging red-salu at the top of the hill with vows. Mud made idols are also offered in the name of the deity.
Akhan Yatra is related with fairs at different pockets of Ajodhya Hills. Sati-ghat mela is famous one. Tusus are brought there. Melodious songs, majestic Pata-nach dance. sports, hen-fight( murgi-lari) gives a colourful day. Akhan Yatra is the day of happiness.
The day is remembered for pitha-festival. There is a proverb: Auri-Bauri-Makar: Pitha is consumed three days starting from Bauri-the day before Makar. Pithas are offered in the name of ancestors. On Akhan day rice-dust (chal-guri) is offered to five generations.
Akhan day is the day of remembrance of past, culture and wisdom.
I wish Suva Akhan Yatra to all .

About mitraprof

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