One with nature @ 'Chikal Kalo' in Goa

There's loads of mud, and not a festive outfit in sight, when this village in Goa celebrates the annual ‘Chikal Kalo’ festival
The festival of 'Chikal Kalo'
The festival of 'Chikal Kalo'Picture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes


How close have you been to nature? Not this close, we bet. In this village of Goa, you can find people turning back to nature and embracing Mother Earth as they celebrate the festival of Chikal Kalo.

Chikal Kalo literally means 'playing in mud'. It is a festival where you can find the people of Marcel, North Goa, especially the men folk 'playing' in the mud. While, there is a religious significance to it, there is also an environmental aspect associated with it.

In the beginning...

The rituals begin with the traditional puja and other prayer services, a night prior to the actual celebration. This goes on for almost 24 hours until the day of the festival.

The rituals being celebrated
The rituals being celebrated Picture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes

Why play in mud?

Right before getting into the mud, the participants smear their bodies with oil. It is said that the oil protects them from contracting any infection from the mud.

It is also believed the applying mud on the body helps to cure a variety of skin diseases. All the participants (they are all males) slather their bodies with oil and then make their way out of the temple.

Prasad, in the form of local sweets are distributed to them as well as to the spectators, who gather to witness the festivities. After that, tilak is applied on the forehead of the participants.

The participants play various traditional musical instrument at the festival
The participants play various traditional musical instrument at the festivalPicture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes

A unique temple

They then head to the ground in front of the Shree Devaki Krishna temple, Marcel. It is a unique temple because it is the only temple which is dedicated to the mother-son duo, Devaki and Krishna, not only in Goa, but in the whole of India.

Also, the festival celebrates the naughtiness of the young Lord Krishna, who loved to play with his friends in the mud.

The festival of 'Chikal Kalo'
This is a unique mud festival of Goa known as 'Chikal Kalo'

Traditional games

The participants begin the games, which are to be played during the festival, with Mendrani, Chakra, Blind Man's Game, Dog and Bone etc.

These games were played by people in the days gone by. However, with time, people have forgotten them or just stopped playing such games.

Playing a traditional game during the festival of 'Chikal Kalo'
Playing a traditional game during the festival of 'Chikal Kalo'Picture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes

Local music and instruments

You will also find people playing the traditional local instruments and keeping the crowd in the festive mood with the music.

Looking for the right target during one of the games
Looking for the right target during one of the gamesPicture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes

Another belief...

Hindu women also believe that if they visit the temple on the day of the festival, their prayers will be answered and they will be blessed with a child.

If the wish is granted, the women visit the temple, once again, the following year to fulfill their vows. This festival brings hope to women who are longing to be mothers.

A participants enjoys himself in the mud during the festivities
A participants enjoys himself in the mud during the festivitiesPicture Courtesy: Rohan Fernandes
The festival of 'Chikal Kalo'
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