Assam: Poi-Lang festival concludes on sombre note in Charaideo district
Charaideo, Assam: The 'Poi-Lang' festival held at Chalipatha Shyam village in the Charaideo district in accordance with the customs and traditions of Buddhism concluded yesterday on a sombre note.
The three-day festival, organised with the customs and traditions of the Buddhist culture, was celebrated in honour of the late Dr Sasanbansh Mahathera Vante, a Buddhist monk at Shyam Village Buddhist Monastery.
The body of the late village monk was cremated with state honours on the last day of the 'Poi Lang' festival.
Speaking on the occasion, Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Bimal Bora said, "Dr Sasanbansh Mahathera's body was cremated on the last day of the 'Poi Lang' festival at Shyam village in Chalipathar in Charaideo district, nearly six months after his demise at the age of 98."
"As per holy rituals, the body of the monk was preserved for the past six months since his death in August 2023," said the Minister.
The late Dr Sasanbansh Mahathera, who served as a Buddhist monk in Shyam Village Buddhist Monastery, died on August 23 at the Buddhist Monastery in Chalapatha.
The festival is celebrated mainly by pulling specially designed chariots in which the dead bodies of outgoing Buddhist monks are kept.
It is to be noted that when a Buddhist monk who has spent more than 40 years in a holy Buddhist monastery dies, his body is not immediately cremated or buried.
The body of the monk is kept in a coffin for seven to eight months in a traditional and scientific manner and stored in a house called 'Nick Paan Kong'.
After this, the festival of 'Poi-Lang' is organized, and the said coffin is installed in the chariot.
After paying their last respects to the monk in that chariot, the people present pull the chariot from both sides with a rope.
This act is considered to be an act of virtue and is believed to bring satisfaction to the dead monk.
Along with Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Bimal Bora, Minister of Revenue and Disaster Management Yogen Mohan was also present on the occasion.
The festival, which began on February 3, saw a large number of Buddhists from northeast India and guests from South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, etc.