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Karaga Festival

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Karaga Festival-Karnataka

About:

The karaga itself is a mud pot, on which stands a tall floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier's head. The contents of the pot have remained a secret down the centuries. The carrier's arrival is heralded by hundreds of bare-chested, dhoti-clad, turbaned Veerakumaras bearing unsheathed swords. Tradition has it that this frenzied procession of Veerakumaras accompanying the karaga carrier can execute him should he stumble and let the karaga fall. This festival that takes place in central part of the city is called as Bangalore Karaga.


The Karaga carrier is taken from his home by the members of the Dharmaraya Temple. The carrier's wife takes on the role of a widow. Her mangala sutra (necklace symbolizing marriage) and bangles are worn by her husband and she is not to see him or the Karaga until the conclusion of the festival. The Tigalas, who hold Draupadi as their principal deity, believe that Draupadi Shakti (power) brims over during the Karaga festival and the Karaga carrier dressing as a female is symbolic of Draupadi. The Karaga is expertly balanced on the carrier's head. The carrier is practically in a trance even as he dances along with the Veerakumaras.The Veerakumaras hit the swords on their bare chest telling dik-di dik-di.

Another person to watch out for is the Karanga. Karanga carries earthen pots on his head and immerses the same in the Sampangni Tank. It is said that as the person walks from the temple holding the Karaga on his head he is surrounded by the sword men. In case the Karaga slips from his head or he loses his balance and falls he would be killed by these sword fighters. Over centuries this tradition has continued and it is dominant till today.

But the best part of the Karaga festival in Bangalore is its secular nature. People of different castes and creeds can join the festivities. The procession itself visits the Dargah-e-Shariff of Hazrat Takwal Mastan. Legends say that Hazrat, a Muslim ascetic was wounded while watching this procession. The priests of the temple treated him and he recovered. The saint was so impressed with this that he requested Draupadi to halt the procession at his grave. It is believed that the tradition had continued since then.

Location info:

Address:Karnataka,India
District: Karnataka,India
Best time to visit: March or April

Climate/Weather:

During winter temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius,Summer Average temperature is 34 degrees Celsius

History:

 

Importance:

Mahabharat, Pandavas and Kauravas fought heroically on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In every spring an echo of that grim struggle is heard in Bangalore during Karaga, the metro’s oldest and most important festival. Infused with mythological theme and a rich seam of folklore, Karaga is in a sense a celebration of India’s rich cultural and religious heritage.The roots of Karaga go back over five centuries, and to the Tigala community which has kept the festival alive over the centuries. Mystery shrouds the origin of the Tigalas. By one account, the Tigalas sprung form the lions of the sage Angirasa whose progeny were the founders of most of the dynasties of South India. Yet another account attributes the origin of the Tigalas to Agani, the Goddess of fire in the Hindu pantheon. The Puranas (scriptures) say that Draupadi emerged as the embodiment of an ideal woman. The Tigalas, who hold Draupadi as their principal deity, believe that Draupadi Shakti (power) brims over during the Karaga festival.


Truly there is a power, indefinable but nevertheless pulsating furiously as the Karaga festival, particularly the night long procession gets underway to the throbbing of drums and cries of dik-dhi and Govinda from the surging crowds of devotees. The Karaga, after which the festival gets its name, is a symbolic pyramidical floral structure, which is carried on the head of a person selected to be the Karaga carrier. The Karaga carrier is taken from his home by the members of the Dharmaraya Temple, Ulsoorpet. Immediately after that, his wife takes on the role of a widow. Her mangal-sutra (necklace symbolizing marriage) and bangles are worn by her husband, and she is not to see him or the Karaga until the conclusion of the festival.

Method of Celebration:

wearing a yellow sari:
The priest in the attire of the goddess Draupadi leaves the temple during midnight wearing a yellow sari, bangles and mangalasutra which is a sacred chain of married women. People from all over the state and specially from Bangalore waits throughout the day to have a glimpse of the goddess Draupadi.


wearing a dhoti-clad:
The festival of the Karaga is awaited by hundreds of bare chested, dhoti-clad and turbaned veerakumaras (brave youth) brandishing named swords. Only a member of the Tigala community can be a veerakumara. Fire-walking, these young men dance around while striking their blades against their bare chests. If blood should ooze out, it is considered an indication of the veerakumara’s failure to adhere to the ritualistic formalities required for the occasion. Amidst fire walking and frenzied dancing, the Karaga carrier emerges from the temple, surrounded by the these men the Karaga balanced on his head. For the Karaga carrier, the swords have a menacing significance because by tradition they are supposed to stab the Karanga carrier if he loses balance and falls. Fortunately, this has never happened in the long history of this festival.

KumKum:
According to legend, Mastan was once hurt when he rushed to have a glimpse of the Karaga procession. The temple priests applied kumkum (vermilion) to his wounds. An overjoyed Mastan prayed to Draupadi that the procession should halt at his dargah (grave) after his death. This tradition has been maintained over the years, giving a distinct secular flavour to the festival.

worship:
Karaga Festival is celebrated in the Bangalore city. This festival is one of the oldest ones in Karnataka. Karaga Festival is deeply rooted in mythology. Goddess Shakti is worshipped during this festival. Karaga is mainly celebrated among the Tigala community. This festival will bring the travelers face to face with the numerous rituals and traditions that are prevalent in India. The country is famous for its tradition and culture. Hence festivals like Karaga provide an insight into Kannada culture as well as into the culture of the country.

Culture of Festivities:

The karaga itself is a mud pot, on which stands a tall floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier's head. The contents of the pot have remained a secret down the centuries. The carrier's arrival is heralded by hundreds of bare-chested, dhoti-clad, turbaned Veerakumaras bearing unsheathed swords. Tradition has it that this frenzied procession of Veerakumaras ccompanying the karaga carrier can execute him should he stumble and let the karaga fall. This festival that takes place in central part of the city is called as Bangalore Karaga.

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Karaga Festival Maps

{DropDown_Menu_Apple_style} About Karaga Festival Photo Gallery Video Gallery MAPs Forum Nearest Attraction {/DropDown_Menu_Apple_style}

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25 KM FROM Pattadakal village in Aihole, there are many small temples from 6th to 12th centuries belonging to early Chalukya, Rashtrakauta and later Chalukyas dynasties. From half broken temples to small shrines, there are more than 100 temples. This was a promonent trading city of the chalukyas. There are one jain cave temple and one Buddist cave temple. All the other jain and Buddist temples are made of the stone and resembles Hindu temples. Another interesting fact is that theses temples were built during the middle ages before any style was established and hence there is a mixture of styles.

Karaga Festival'|}{/tab}{tab=SatelliteView}{mosmap width='100%'|height='500px'|lat='15.31728'|lon='75.71389'|mapType='Satellite'|text='Karaga Festival

25 KM FROM Pattadakal village in Aihole, there are many small temples from 6th to 12th centuries belonging to early Chalukya, Rashtrakauta and later Chalukyas dynasties. From half broken temples to small shrines, there are more than 100 temples. This was a promonent trading city of the chalukyas. There are one jain cave temple and one Buddist cave temple. All the other jain and Buddist temples are made of the stone and resembles Hindu temples. Another interesting fact is that theses temples were built during the middle ages before any style was established and hence there is a mixture of styles.

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