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Kahika Festival In Himachal Pradesh – Death And Rebirth – Narkhan Festival

Kahika festival is an unusual festival held in various places in Kullu and Mandi. In Mandi the ritual is known as Narkhan. In some places this festival, also known as Kaika or Kayika, is an annual event and in some place is held once in 3 or 5 or 7 or 9 or 12 years or even more. When it is not an annual event, the festival is performed when the deity informs about the need of the ritual through goor – the priest or sacred person.

The objective of Kahika festiva is removal of sin through a human being sacrificed and then brought back to life. With the removal of sins and evil there will be peace, prosperity and good harvest.

The ritual is usually held in the months of Jyeshta (May – June), Ashada (June – July), Shravan (July –August), Bhadrapad (August – September) and Ashwin (September – October).

The ritual involves the flamboyantly acted sacrifice of a man, always from the Nad caste, who lapses in a trance so real that it is said not even a doctor can determine if he is, in fact, alive.

After several hours, when an elaborate funeral march has been organized, the man comes back to life, miraculously, and the festivities are resumed.