Tripurari Poornima Boat Festival

at Vithalapur, Sankhali (Sanquelim)



‘Tripurari Pournima’ is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartika. The festival that symbolises the victory of good over evil is also called the Kartiki Pournima. Legend says that the demon king Tripurasur had been harassing the Gods. Lord Shiva rose in defence of the Gods and a fierce battle ensued in which the asura was killed. The day was ‘Kartik Pournima’. And since then people have been celebrating the day by lighting lamps at temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tradition also says that Lord Shiva’s son the God Kartikeya should also be venerated on the day. As part of the rituals of the celebrations people set afloat lit lamps in the river.

This annual celebration are held at Vitalapur-Sanquelim on the banks of the River Valavanti and this year were held on 11th November. The highlights of the festival was the procession of Lord Krishna which started at 7pm, followed by floating of lamps in the River Valvanti. After the arrivial of the Palakhi (Palanquin) procession of Lord Vithal and Goddess Rakhumai at 11pm, symbolic killing of demon Tripurasur (Tripurasur Wadh) took place and release of Sarang (hot air balloon lamp) and fireworks. The highlight of the festival was the decorative and artistic models of boat, crafted out of cardboard and thermocol floating in the river at midnight.

At Vithalapur there in a tradition of carrying out ‘deeparadhana’ on Tripurari Poornima within the premises of the Vithala Temple.

The temple premises are illuminated with lamps and the ‘palkhi’ of Lord Vithala is taken out in procession to the River Valavanti where after carrying out the ‘pooja’, lamps are offered to the God and set afloat on the river.

Earlier, earthen lamps placed within small bowls made of leaves were floated. Later, the shape of the leaf bowl or ‘drona’ changed to take the shape of a boat.

However, the core of this festival, worship of lamps (deeparadhana) and offering of lamps to God (deepadana) remain unchanged.

Photos by Lynn Barreto Miranda /


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