All pictures by Ratan Lal
While Sarhul is celebrated to mark beginning of New Year by worshiping trees, Manda is observed in Jharkhand to pray for rain during the season of Monsoon.
The Manda festival takes place primarily in and around 100 km radius of Ranchi, especially in villages where the majority of the people belong to Munda and Oraon tribes.*
The traditional festivals of the tribals are being celebrated even today with undaunted belief and maintaining its originality. The classic example in the genre is the Manda festival of Jharkhand.
This festival is observed to appease the Sun God and pray for rain during the hot and dry month. In tribal society there is belief that Lord Shiva fulfills the desire of those people, who participate in the Manda festival.
During this festival, processions are brought out from the premises of the temple of Lord Shiva and taken to other villages. Farmers lie with sticks outside Shiva temple, as they wait for blessings from the main priest of the temple on a hot afternoon during the holy procession of Manda Festival. Hundreds of tribals participate in this annual festival for good farming, prosperity and good health.
Scores of tribals carry stick as they pray and walk barefoot on a bed of red-hot steaming coal. The bed of fire is arranged before the village temple, known as Manda Sthal. Devotees after taking holy dip in village pond or river, complete the ritual of walking on fire.