Ganga pooja may be a church festival within the northeastern state of Tripura in India. The tribal Tripuri people worship the Goddess of the river and pray to be saved from epidemic diseases and for the well-being of pregnant women.
The celebration involves building a temple of bamboo within the middle of the river or a water stream. The River Ganges, known locally as Ganga, is one among the fourteen prime deities worshipped during this region. The festival is popularly celebrated throughout the state somewhere in March, April, or May, with its date fixed consistent with the Hindu calendar . The 2018 date is 24 May.
Ganga pooja is widely known after the Navanna festival, which marks the rice harvest. Its date is variable but falls in March or April. It worships the river goddess of the Ganga, or Ganges, one among the fourteen foremost deities of Tripura. On this occasion, tribal communities assemble on the banks of a stream or river and “pare three pieces of bamboo into beautiful flowers”.
After this they build a short lived temple within the middle of the stream, also made out of bamboo, and hold celebrations reverently. man geese, goats, and even buffalo are sacrificed to the gods, within the belief that through such offerings the gods may use their power to stop epidemic diseases. Another purpose of the festival is that the gods are reverently asked to make sure the well-being of pregnant women. Throughout the state of Tripura traditional dance forms a part of the festival of worship.
The procedure of Ganga Pooja
Shanti path is a spiritual and religious process to offer prayers. It is the session to infuse the body and mind with positive feelings and vibration This is the main purpose of Shanti’s path.
Jal (Water) is one of the symbols used to represent the Holy Spirit, so sprinkling Jal around means to purify the entire household, and offering it means thanking God for his grace. We offer prayers to our holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswathi, etc. We take a flower, immerse it in the water bowl and sprinkle it on our heads and on all attendees. This helps us to purify the entire surroundings of our house.
Deepak Pooja is essential for any prayer in Hinduism because it signifies purity, good luck, and power. The presence of light means the non-existence of darkness and evil forces and to acquire win over the negative powers. Let’s take some flowers and rice in our right hand and we pray to the holy Light.
Now we do Sankalp Pooja. We take flowers, a spoon full of water, and rice in our right hand and offer prayers. Sankalp basically means resolution, and resolution is to be determined to complete the prayers today.
For Ganpathi Pooja We take flowers, rice, and a tablespoon of water in our right hand and we offer prayers to lord Ganesha. Ganesh Poojan comes first to remove all obstacles and problems from our life. We chant “Om Gan Ganpate Namo Namah” and “Ganpati Bappa Morya” 3 times.
The River Ganga is personified as a goddess Maa Ganga and is believed to provide happiness, prosperity, salvation, mental peace, and deliverance (Moksha) to its devotees. “Shodasa Upacahar” is a complete process of performing the rituals of Ganga Pooja. Upachar means service; there are 16 up chars to be executed for worship. It is usually rendered with Vedic chantings.
All these 16 steps are symbolic representations of the various forms of expressing reverence like offering the deity a golden throne to be seated, washing feet, washing hands, offering water to drink, ceremonial bathing with sacred waters, offering new clothes, etc.
Ganga Pooja of Maa Ganga is a special ritual in which many kinds of material like Milk, Honey, Fruits, etc are offered to the Goddess. Ganga Pooja is performed by devotees for fulfilling their desires. The ritual is believed to bring happiness and prosperity to the family and business.
Ganga Pooja means prayer for River Ganga. Prayers are dedicated to gods and goddesses. River Ganga is not just a river in India, It is a Divine Mother. River Ganga gives life in the form of water. The same water also removes sins when you take a dip in its holy water. River Ganga also gives liberation to souls. It’s not just a river but the whole culture itself.
Historically millions of people are living on the bank of the river Ganga. For agriculture, her water is still precious for India. River Ganga is considered a goddess which was originally living in heaven. Saint Bhagirath made a long meditation to give liberation to his ancestors (reduced to ashes due to the curse of sage Kapil). He was blessed with Ganga by gods. Lord Shiva held her to reduce her mighty flow.
The worship of Maa Ganga is one of the most important rituals in Hinduism. Each evening, thousands of devotees gather at the banks of the Ganga at Haridwar and Rishikesh to witness the spectacle known as the ‘Ganga Aarti’, which pays homage to the greatness of this river. Bathing in or offering worship to Devi Ganga can purify the souls of the devotees.
It can absolve their sins, turn them into good, virtuous individuals and ultimately help them liberation of the soul (Moksha), in the afterlife. The waters of the Ganges are said to be magical and can even cure diseases, ailments, and other illnesses.