The three-day Poy-Lang festival, organized by the Shyam Gaon Buddhist Monastery, kicked off near the Buddhist Monastery of Chalapathar in the Charaideo district of Assam on Saturday.
The festival is followed by Buddhist customs and traditions, and pays tribute to the late Shasanbansh Mahathera Vante, who served as a Buddhist monk in Shyam Gaon Buddhist Monastery for over 40 years.
Shasanbansh Mahathera Vante passed away on August 23, 2023, at the Buddhist Monastery in Chalapathar. The festival involves the ceremonial pulling of specially designed chariots containing the bodies of the departed Buddhists monks.
After three days the chariot is set ablaze, marking the conclusion of the late monk’s Rath Yatra.
Buddhists monks who have spent over four decades in a holy monastery undergo a unique cremation ritual. Their bodies are meticulously persevered in a coffin for seven to eight months in a structure called “Nick Paan Kong”.
The Poy-Lang festival is then organized and the coffin is placed in the chariot, considering it a virtuous act that brings solace to the departed soul.
The opening day witnessed the hoisting of the Buddhist flag, and the body of Mahathera Vante was ceremonially placed in the chariot.
Thousands of people gathered at the festival venue to partake in the Rath Yatra honouring Shasanbansh Mahathera Vante, a distinguished religious leader of northeast India.
Guests from South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, and China are expected to attend the event, emphasizing its cultural and international significance.
Organizers expressed hope that the festival, irrespective of caste and religion, would unite the Buddhist community across Northeast India.
The event aims to honour the legacy of Dr Shasanbansh Mahathera Vante and foster cultural exchanges with international attendees.