As Rafale fighter jet was handed over to India on Dussehra, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed the traditional Shastra Puja as a mark of respect for the newest addition to India's firepower. But what is Shastra Puja or Ayudha Puja?
What is Shastra Puja?
The word Shastra Puja has connotations of honouring the very weapons one uses to vanquish his enemies. Dussehra or Dasara, as it is called in some part of India, is one of the most auspicious days of the year according to the Hindu calendar. It is considered that if a new endevour is undertaken on this day, it receives blessings of the heavens.
The tradition of Shastra Puja is said to have started in ancienr India. The tradition remained alive in the medieval times when Kings and Queens paid respect to weapons. The tradition has continued in modern times as well.
How is Shastra Puja done?
During Shastra Puja, weapons are kept on a high pedestal. Water from the holy Ganga river is sprinkled on the weapons. Then the weapons are adorned with fresh flowers. Turmeric and Vermillion are applied to the weapons as sign of respect. Leaves of 'Shami' tree are kept on the weapons. Shami tree has a significance as it has been mentioned in the epic Mahabharat. It is said that Lord Ram also performed Shastra Puja before his battle with Demon King Ravan. The battle between them ended with Ravan meeting a deadly end.
Indian armed forces perform Shastra Puja each year. The armed forces are the line of defence of the country and the day of Dussehra is a time for the brave warriors to show respect for the weapons that keep India's enemies at bay.
Keeping with the tradition, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja of first Rafale fighter aircraft that was handed over to India on French airbase.
Watch | Rafale Handover: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs 'Shastra Puja'