The Tapovan mandir, where the South Indian-origin Brahmins observe their annual upakarma in Ranchi
An ancient tradition is ingeniously struggling to stay alive in the capital, of course with a little neighbourly help.
On the Shravani purnima (full moon of the holy Hindu month of Shravan) on Wednesday, a handful of Brahmins hailing from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh but settled in Ranchi will observe the Yajurveda upakarma or changing of the sacred thread under expert guidance of priests invited from neighbouring Jamshedpur.
Sunder Subramaniam, an organiser of this ancient ritual and an official of Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited, Ranchi, told The Telegraph about the significance of the day.
“The Shravani purnima day marks a new beginning for Brahmins as we change the sacred thread and wear a new one. The day is also considered auspicious as Brahmins offer water in memory of their ancestors,” he said.
He added that over the past 40 years, the South Indian-origin Brahmins had been quietly hosting the annual upakarma at Tapovan mandir near the railway overbridge. As time wore on, like the Parsis in Jamshedpur, the number of south Indian Brahmins in Ranchi dwindled.
“Compared to the 40-plus South Indian Brahmins in Ranchi even a decade ago, we are not more than four or five today. Most of these gentlemen have gone back to their home states or migrated elsewhere,” said Subramaniam.
This year, in a bid to locate the exact numbers of their community members, they were giving the ritual event more publicity.
“We want to find out how many of us are in Ranchi,” said Subramaniam.
The religious function has been arranged at Tapovan, Sri Ram Mandir, near Ranchi railway overbridge from 10am to 2pm or beyond on Wednesday. Followers of the Yajurveda would assemble at the venue and observe the rites and rituals prescribed by ancient scriptures under the guidance of renowned priests from Jamshedpur.
Explaining the reasons for rushing in priests from Jamshedpur to Ranchi, Subramaniam rued that “expert priests” were not available in the capital.
“We have got in touch with Madrasi Sammelani, Jamshedpur, for help, which has been kind enough to provide us with priests who specialise in conducting this kind of religious ceremony. We have agreed to pay the priests travel and incidental expenses. We don’t collect chanda but share all the expenses,” he said.