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Is Raima Saima just a folktale or Real life Story?

The story is about how python who fell in love with one of the women from a Tripuri village. Let's look forward to the story.

The Temple in the Raima Valley

Before we proceed to our story let us know the historical background of the story.


Well, the story took place in one of the villages, which is now known as Raima valley. It is located in Dumburnagar Block in the Dhalai District of Tripura State, India. It is located 34 KM towards the South of the District headquarters Ambassa 76 kilometres from the state capital Agartala.


Let's start the story ~


Once upon a time, there was a Tripuri priest in a village. He used to be quite busy with priestly activities. Every day he was called by different people to perform different functions. He was usually accompanied by his wife. Hence, they had no time to look after their family and household affairs such as agricultural work of jhum cultivation. They had two beautiful daughters, Raima and Saima. The agricultural work of jhum was managed mainly by the sisters.


Once there was a sudden storm when the sisters were working in the agricultural field. It rained heavily. These sisters had no place to take shelter. They stood under a tree but it did not help. They were totally drenched and the younger sister, Saima, was shivering in the cold. Looking at her condition Raima was depressed and heartbroken.


Out of agony, she pledged-

‘Saima, I can not see you shivering this way, there is no Gairing (type of hut made of bamboo) for us to take shelter. If we had Gairing today, we could have taken shelter there, but alas! We have none. So, anyone who would build a Gairing for us, I shall accept him as my husband. Let it be an ant, grasshopper, bird, monkey, snake, demon or anything.'


That day they could no longer work and went back home.


The next day when they came for their jhum work in the same field, they found a beautiful new Gairing. They were very elated to find it near the place they worked, and at the same time were surprised for it was being built overnight. As per her pledge, Raima decides to acknowledge the person as her husband. At lunchtime, Raima tells her sister to invite her brother-in-law by singing a song. When called, the husband of Raima came. It was a big python! Saima was scared and hid behind the house, but Raima saw him as a human being only. The python ate most of their lunch, they had to share only a little part. This trend continued. Saima used to invite her brother-in-law to lunch every day. Gradually the sisters became very thin and lean as the food for two was taken by three, one of which was the python.


One day their father, the "priest" meets his younger daughter. He asks her about her weight loss; to which she narrated everything in detail to her father. The priest could not accept the reptile as his son-in-law and planned to kill the python.


Then, as per his plan, the priest sends Raima to go somewhere else and not to the agricultural field for work. Once Raima was gone, he along with his younger daughter Saima went to their hut made by the husband-in-law. He asks Saima to invite her brother-in-law for lunch. Saima called her brother-in-law as usual and the python obliged. Saima tells the python that today Raima didn’t come with her. Instead, his father-in-law, the priest, had come to meet him. She asks the python to touch her father’s feet. When the python touched his feet, he severed the python into two pieces and dumped it in a deep gorge.


At the same time, Raima who was working somewhere else felt a certain uneasiness. Her bangles, chain, and earrings fell down all of a sudden. She knew something bad had happened and rushed to her home.


Upon reaching home Raima enquires about her husband to Saima. Saima tells her in detail how their father had killed the python. After getting the information Raima went to their field and searched for her husband's dead body. She found the dead body of the python, in a Khumpui flower field, a kind of shrub flower found in the deep jungle. Raima cried holding the head of her husband. Though others saw it as a python, Raima saw it as a human being only. More importantly, she saw her husband as a companion for life.


She cried until she was totally submerged in grief. Then she urged and requested her husband not to leave her alone in this world, as she would also accompany him. As she continued crying, her tears turned into streams. She continued crying and praying for her husband to wait and take her away with him. The stream turned into a small river, but she stood there only. The water level rose gradually from knee to hip to chest to neck and ultimately above her head and eventually submerged her in the river water. The river has since been named Khumtwi and later changed to Gumti/Gomati. It has later said by the people that the python is none other than lord Siva in disguise of python, and Raima was none other than Parvati.


They came in disguise to give people respite from the sins of the world. They became the river for the welfare of the Tripuri people.


So here the story ends.


It has been proven a true story because the python's head is still in the place of the Raima valley around which a temple has been built. For the people of the region, this is not a fictional tale; the head of the python is still there. Also, there's a huge amount of the Khumpui flower is being seen and besides that the small river which is the root of the Gomati river and is very much in-depth in a very small area.

The cut-off head of the python

This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.

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