Segments in this Video

Kahika Festival Overview (03:55)


This video shows a festival of absolution, death, and rebirth, during which a human scapegoat takes on bad karma and is sacrificed and resurrected. Hear the story of how the festival originated.

Kahika Festival Timeline (03:24)

Hear a description of religious functionaries, including the oracle (goor), priests (pujari), deity associated with Larankelo (Larain Mahadeu), and scapegoat and his wife (naur). Learn about events leading to the festival day.

Installing the Kahika (01:53)

Builders construct a tent of four branches with a white cloth canopy; the structure is called kahika. Rams are sacrificed. Devtas, goors, and pujaris worship Ganapati; the host deity's pujari performs a yajna by throwing offerings into a fire.

Preparing for the Absolution Chidra (03:29)

Hear descriptions of sin (pap) types. The naur uses wheat flour to draw a mandala and makes a cow dung effigy for spirits with unfinished business. A basket of grains (dadh) serves to trap bad karma. The naur places wooden phalluses nearby.

Absolution Chidra (07:13)

The naur pours barley into a basket and cleans the host deity Mahadeva Shiva. He performs incantations for individuals seeking release from sins. Hear examples of forgivable sins that are transferred to the naur. The goor transmits Larain Mahadeva Shiva’s message.

Kahika Dance (12:30)

The deity's band plays drums and flutes; deities are carried on litters in a procession. The naur behaves obscenely and waves wooden phalluses at participants who must pay fines in exchange for necklaces warding off evil. Learn about phallus symbolism.

Chariot (Rath) Significance (04:43)

Litters are constructed of sacred wood and form part of the deity. Jognis act as messengers between main gods and goddesses and village deities. Hear names of deities attending from neighboring villages and see Kahika dance participants.

Goor Procession (18:33)

The goor flings himself around in a trance. Litters carrying deities make their way around the kahika surrounded by dancers. Women and girls watch from the sidelines except for the naur's wife (nauran), who dances.

Second Purification Ritual (13:04)

Deity litters return to the kahika and start another chidra. Goors and the naur chant and throw rice offerings. The nauran collects money from participants; men lift the litters again and continue dancing around the kahika.

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The Kahika Festival Episode 1

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This program is the first part of a documentary by anthropologist Barrie Machin on the Festival of Kahika, a religious festival in India that is a sort of expiation ceremony and that is celebrated at various places in the Kulu region. The main purpose of Kahika is the transference, and thus removal, of sins (paap) or baneful influences (dosh-khot, kaari-shrapni) to a human scapegoat; first 'sacrificed', then brought back to life. In this ritual, both men and deity are absolved.

Length: 67 minutes

Item#: BVL192064

ISBN: 978-1-64867-348-1

Copyright date: ©1986

Closed Captioned

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