New Delhi, Sep 20: Agra is all geared up to celebrate ‘Ram Barat’, which is one of the important festivals of Uttar Pradesh. Celebrating the marriage of Lord Rama with Goddess Sita, the festival is seen celebrated its best in Agra city. The grand celebration is marked by marriage procession of Lord Ram during Ramlila celebrations across the city. In Agra, a new locality is chosen every year and is impressively decorated with lights and flowers, much to the interest of local population. Agra has thus becomes the venue of the divine marriage of the two deities.

Ram Barat which literally means marriage procession of Lord Ram is particularly welcomed by residents of the locality chosen to be Janakpuri. It is one of the biggest annual events in North India.  Falling during ‘pitra paksh’ or ‘kanagat’, which is considered to be inauspicious, people of Agra say that it’s a good omen in an inauspicious period and anything that is ‘inauspicious’ doesn’t apply for Ram and Sita.

As per reports, Taj City is abuzz with preparation for wedding celebration of the two deities. The auspicious festival will start from October 1 at Mankameshwar Temple, where ceremonies right from the barat procession to vidai will be witnessed. The history of Ram Barat is said to be around 125 years old. As per Hindu pundits, if you ask them for ‘mahurat’ for wedding, he would ask you to avoid the 15-day period of ‘pitra paksh’ or ‘kanagat’ that starts this Thursday. But the rule however, doesn’t imply for Ram and Sita. (ALSO READ: Uttar Pradesh: Rs 200 cr fund for second, third phase of Agra Ring Road)

The Ram Barat is celebrated for three days. On the first day marriage procession is taken out which is watched by millions of people of Agra as well as those arriving from neighbouring districts of Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh. The place is lit up with thousands of lights and there is non-stop music, and the cinema theatres run film shows throughout the night to accommodate the migratory crowd. 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.”

As per reports by Hindustan Times, each year a locality is selected and decked up as Janakpuri which is the kingdom of king Janak, father of Sita. This year, Kamla Nagar has been chosen for the purpose,” said Shree Bhagwan Agarwal, general secretary of the Ramlila Committee. Agarwal has been associated with the celebration for the past 35 years. He said that Ram Barat is a mega affair for the region and draws people from nearby towns too.  The locality selected for the grand Barat is given special funding and is decorated like a bride’s paternal home, ready to receive Baraatis. In 2015, Janakpuri was celebrated from 8-10 October at Gandhi Nagar locality.

The secretary of the Ramlila Committee said it’s the local administration that carries out development work in the Janakpuri area and every year there is a competition of sorts among localities over being chosen to play the birth place of Sita. “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”, Agarwal added.

The celebration includes different kinds of tableaux of local people where people are dressed as Lord Rama and Laxman. The grand procession starts from Janakpuri venue and passes through different parts of the town. The celebrations mark an importance in North India, catching attention of tourists.

(Image Credit: Luv Kush Ramlila Samiti Facebook photo)