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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Ram barat: A good omen in ‘inauspicious’ period

Hemendra Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times  Agra, September 19, 2013
First Published: 09:50 IST(19/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:54 IST(19/9/2013)

Ask any pundit about ‘mahurat’ for wedding and he would squarely tell you to avoid the 15-day period of ‘pitra paksh’ or ‘kanagat’, which would begin this Thursday.

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However, for Agraites, there is one couple on whom the rule doesn’t apply: Lord Ram and Sita.

Taj City is abuzz with preparation for Ram Barat, the extravagant wedding celebration of the two deities, which would start from October 1 at Mankameshwar Temple.

Ram Barat is a unique, yearly phenomenon in Agra in which the wedding ceremony of Ram and Sita is reconstructed: Right from the barat procession to vidai.

“Each year, a locality is selected and decked up as Janakpuri – the kingdom of king Janak, who was the father of Sita. This year, Kamla Nagar has been chosen for the purpose,” said Shree Bhagwan Agarwal, general secretary of the Ramlila Committee.

“Ram Barat is a mega affair for the region and draws people from nearby towns too,” added Agarwal, who has been associated with the celebration for the past 35 years.

On the question of Ram Barat coinciding with pitra paksha, Agarwal said, “Yes, people do have reservations over pitra paksha but the tradition of Ram Barat has been on since decades and we can’t change it. Still, to avoid bad omen, we perform puja a day in advance.”

Ram Barat is particularly welcomed by residents of the locality chosen to be Janakpuri, as it brings infrastructure overhaul for them.

“Local administration carries out development work in the Janakpuri area. Thus, each year, there is a competition of sorts among localities over being chosen to play the birth place of Sita,” said Agarwal.

Jitendra Raghuvanshi of Indian People Theatre Association said, “Ram Barat has gone beyond being a mere religious occasion. It has become a social affair too with many Muslims actively participating in it.”


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