The Annual Festival Upholding Indigenous Traditions of the Tipra Royal Family and Tipra People
Date: July 11, 2023: Tripura, India – In the picturesque state of Tripura, the traditional Indigenous festival of Ker Mwtai is being celebrated with great enthusiasm and reverence. Held annually in the month of July, this ancient festival carries significant historical and cultural importance for both the Tipra Royal Family and the Tipra people.
Rooted in the customs of the ancient Tipra Kingdom, Ker Mwtai is a festival marked by austerity and spiritual observances. According to legends, the rituals were performed by the ancient rulers of Tripura to ensure the welfare of their people and the kingdom as a whole.
Central to the festival is the demarcation of a particular area, or ker, symbolizing a sacred boundary. Villages participating in Ker Mwtai block all main entrances with bamboo, distinctly displaying the sign of Ker Mwtai.
During the Mwtai Rihma Period, a span of time following the festival Karachi Ter, outsiders are prohibited from entering the village, and villagers are not permitted to leave until the completion of the rituals. This practice fosters a sense of community and spiritual dedication among the participants.
The focal point of the ceremony is the use of bamboo, known as “Wathop,” representing sacredness. A chosen Ochai (Priest), now called Raj Chantai (High Priest), leads the rituals. As offerings to the gods, hens and cocks are sacrificed, and traditional wine is served. This offering ceremony, known as “Khuk Muswmani” in Kokborok, holds deep cultural significance.
While Ker Mwtai was traditionally observed throughout various villages, today it is predominantly performed in a specific location based on the decisions of either a particular village or the village headman. The Tipra Royal Family continues to honor their heritage by practicing these rituals, and during the ceremony, access to the Nuyungma (Ujjayanta Palace) is restricted.
With the signing of the Tripura Merger Agreement in 1949, the responsibility of undertaking Ker Mwtai was entrusted to the Indian Government. This agreement emphasizes the government’s commitment to preserving and upholding the Indigenous traditions of the Tipura Royal Family and the Tiprasa people.
As Ker Mwtai continues to be celebrated year after year, it serves as a poignant reminder of Tripura’s rich cultural heritage and the deep-rooted spirituality of its people. The festival stands as a testament to the unity, devotion, and commitment to tradition shared by the Tipra Royal Family and the Tipra community.