Igitun Chalne celebrated in May, is a religious festival in the northern district of Goa in the temple of Sirigao, which is located in Bicholim Taluka. Also known as the “fire walk” festival, it attracts onlookers and tourists to experience the festival in huge numbers each year. Devotees walk on hot coals in commemoration of the goddess Lairaya. It is done to showcase true and complete devotion to the goddess. This extreme act of bravery brings many people together in awe of the festival. Over the years, Igitun Chalne has become increasingly popular to outsiders, and it has become a hub for culture, tradition and education to the people of Goa, and outsiders too. The entire act of walking on hot coals is followed by a whole night of merrymaking and is spent in happiness. The festival attracts many onlookers and observes each year as it gives a unique form of devotion while being a sacred and holy night for Goans.
Where is Igitun Chalne Celebrated?
The festival takes place in the temple of Sirigao which is located in Bicholim Taluka, in the northern district of Goa. It is about 30 km away from the capital Panjim. Sirigao is a small village, and it is most famous for having the temple devoted to the goddess Lairaya, and it is also renowned for hosting the festival of Igitun Chalne each year.
History of Igitun Chalne Festival
The goddess Lairai is the most revered one out of her siblings by the locals of Bicholim Taluka. It is said that she and her seven siblings migrated to Goa from Bengal, and they all have settled in different parts of Goa. The words “Igitun Chalne” directly translates from Konkani to “fire walk” in English. The ancient tradition of walking on hot coals was performed by devotees of the goddess to prove their belief and devotion in her. This tradition may seem unusual and masochistic in today’s times, but it dates centuries back and is considered to be very auspicious by the devotees of the goddess.
How To Reach
One may reach Sirigao via air or railways. The closest airport is the Dabolim airport which is about 50 km from Sirigao. One may take a taxi from the airport to the village. The nearest railway station is the Tivim station which is 5 km away, but not all trains stop here as it is not a major railway station. The closest railway stations are Vasco da Gama which is about 54 km away, and Margoa which is about 61 km away. One must avail a taxi from the railway station too to reach the village.
The Igitun Chalne festival is a sight to be revered as it hosts a unique act of devotion that dwells on masochism. The act of walking on hot coals is an interesting sight for several observers, Indian or not, as they can witness, what true ancient tradition entails. Even though this may seem like an outdated tradition to some, it holds a lot of history and devotion to the goddess Lairai. The locals are fondly devoted to her and show their affection and belief in her this way. The event, held in the evening, is followed by a night of happiness with loved ones and other like-minded devotees. Thus, this festival is not only an exceptional portrayal of religious devotion but also a celebration. It is highly recommended that tourists visit Goa during the occurrence of this festival as it will truly fill them in sheer awe.
Photos of Igitun Chalne
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