Know about GARIA PUJA of Jamatia community

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Image of Biyak gwnang

     Garia is considered to be a benevolent male deity and fulfiller of the desires of his worshippers. Every year, Garia puja starts from the last day of the Bengali month of Chaitra(March - April) and continues for seven days and seven nights. 
   
     There is no fixed place for the puja. The puja is performed in an open courtyard. From time to time the venue of the puja is changed with the consent of the villages changing over and taking over the puja. The place of the puja is declared formally in the annual conference of the Hoda. There are two images of Garia deity—Biyak gwnang and Biyak kwrwi Garia

    The officials required for this puja are selected during the annual conference of the Hoda. These officials are—

    1. Kherphang :It is a hereditary post. The two Kherphangs for the two images of Garia are selected by the Jamatia hoda. The annual puja is held in the Kherphang's house. 
2. Ochai:The main priest of the Hoda. The hoda Ochai is selected in the annual conference of the Hoda. 
3. Mwtai Balnay: The bearer of the image of Garia deity. 
4. Doriya: He is the drum beater of the Garia. 
5. Bogla:Companions of the Garia. 

  The image of Garia is made of Bamboo and decorated with hand-woven risa, dhuti etc. Buffalo and he-goat are sacrificed in the Garia puja. 

    After the performance of the puja, they start to carry Garia to the scheduled villages. In cases of impurity in any village, Garia is not taken to that particular village. 

   The villagers welcome the followers of image of Garia in its movement cordially. The owner of the house tries his level best to satisfy them. In this way they go from house to house, from village to village with the image of Garia dancing for five to ten minutes in each house and then bless the owner of the house. This continues for seven days and seven nights. 

    The role of the Baglas, who are regarded as companions of Garia is very significant. They accompany the image of Garia during its movement. They make jokes with the spectators and the followers. The leader of the Baglas is called Mahanta. If any spectator requests the Mahanta to cure him/her of an ailment, he takes a little water and chants some Mantras on it and gives the patient. It is believed that sometimes he simply tells the patient "Ta-Wanadi" (don't worry) and then the patient gets cured.
  Image of Biyak kwrwi
      At the end of the seven days and seven nights, the image is again taken to the Kherphang's house. Then certain religious functions are done. Lastly the Mwtai Balnay asks all to immerse the image of Garia.

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