(KhechMavas) Khichdi Amavasya is an ancient winter ritual of the Kashmiri Pandits and is celebrated on Posh Krishna Paksh Amavasya, in local parlance known as Poh Gaet Pach Mavas with unshakable faith in religious fervour. Besides being an integral part of our religious-cultural life ,it also encompasses the mythologized history of Kashmir. The festival also authenticates and affirms the historicity of Yakshas. Yakshas were an ancient aboriginal tribe of Kashmir, who dwelled on the upper mountainous regions of Himalayas extending from the present day Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh to Kashmir.
Hindu scriptures have elevated Yakshas to the status of demigod’s along with Gandharvas, Kinnars, Kiratas, and Rakhshas. Yakshas like Kashmiri Hindus were ardent worshipers of Devaedaev Mahadev Lord Shiva. Yakshapati Lord Kubera is also the intimate and close friend of Lord Shiva.
Lord Kubera is the Lord of wealth and resides in the mythological city of Alkapuri, which is situated on one of the spurs of Mount Meru, which is the abode of Lord Shiva. Lord Kubera ,the king of Yakshas is also called Dhaan pati, Nar-raja, Raj-raja, and Rakhshandra. He is also the Lord of gold, silver, diamonds and other precious jewels. He is also the Presiding Deity of the northern part of the hemisphere and of our houses. His devotees n subjects known as Yakshas are said to possess super natural powers. They are said to have resided in the mighty mountain ranges of Kashmir in antiquity and would descend to the plains of Kashmir during winter months. The Naga inhabitants of Kashmir would extend hospitality to them by offering the delectable cuisine of Khichdi.
On the evening of Khichdi Amavasya, rice mixed with turmeric powder and impounded moong dal is cooked. Khichdi is also prepared with meat or cheese as per the individual family Reeth. Khichdi is prepared with sanctimonious purity and is kept on a fresh earthen plate (Toke) or on a hand woven circular grass base called Arie or in a thali depending on one’s Reeth. Adjacent to is kept a pestle (Kaajvut) seated on a grass woven Arie in an upright position. Tilak is applied to it Pooja is then performed. Afterwards a part of the Khichdi is kept on the courtyard wall of the house.
Afterwards it is taken as Naveed wit the raw reddish and knolkhol pickle. Pestle is a symbolic representation of both the Lord Kubera and His devotees Yakshas abode in the mountainous regions. The historical presence is Yakshas is substantiated by numerous villages based on their names present in Uttranchal Himachal Pradesh and central north districts of Kashmir. Even Srinagar has a locality based on their name called Yachpore situated in the downtown . All the festivals need to be celebrated with religious fervour and faith as they give resonance to our lives, With Khichdi Amavasya.
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