PATACHARKUCHI, April 24 - The villagers of Tangarkur here can�t remember exactly since when and who actually started the tradition of doll marriage at the village, but they do know that since time immemorial, the villagers are continuing this tradition with all religious and social formalities on the premises of the Jagannath Mandir on the 7th day of Rongali Bihu.
They hold the firm belief that doll marriage will bring peace and keep them safe from all unknown and mysterious powers. The most significant aspect of the marriage is that only women perform this tradition. A main pair of dolls is made with the help of a special kind of straw and colourful thread of only three colours. The thread is wrapped on bamboo strips and covered with more colourful threads, just about 2 feet long. The villagers donate a large number of dolls for the marriage from every family.
It is surprising that rituals like �hom yajna� are also performed by a woman priest of the locality. Kiran Devi, a childless woman has been carrying out this responsibility for the last 15 years at a stretch. When she was asked by this correspondent about the reason behind performing this marriage, she replied that it is an age-old tradition for keeping the villagers free from untoward happenings and evil forces. As in a general marriage ceremony of the Hindus, the villagers had their lunch on the temple premises. The women brought water from Kaldia river, singing biyanaams (marriage songs) and bathed the doll with �maah-halodhi� (pulses and turmeric) and performed the marriage where almost every family offered a pair of eggs also. After �hom yajna� and other related rituals, the women brought the eggs and dolls to the bank of the Kaldia where a banana raft was kept ready. The dolls and the eggs were immersed in the river and the prayed for good days and prosperity of the villagers in the future.