Bengaluru’s Karaga Festival Representing Mixture of Community Harmony Comes to an End


At a time when parts of Karnataka are witnessing a communal outbreak over trivial issues, the centuries-old Karaga Mahotsava in the heart of the IT capital exhibits a fine blend of social unity and communal harmony .

The nine-day mahotsava, organized by Tigalas or the Vanni Kula Kshatriyas, ended in the early hours of Sunday, and it was never complete without ‘Draupadi Devi’ giving ‘darshan’ to Hazrat Tawakkal Shah Mastan .

“The Dargah of Hazrat Tawakkal Shah Mastan is at Dharmaraya Swami Temple. The Sufi was a great devotee of our family goddess Draupadi Devi. He had wished that after his passage, he wished to see her every year. As a result, the procession remains in Dargah for some time during the closing day ceremony,” PR Ramesh of the MLC Congress told PTI.

The Karaga festival is unique to Bangalore. The city is perhaps the only place in the country that has the Swami Dharmaraya Temple or Yudhisthira Temple, say residents of the Tigala community.

Every year in the Chaitra Maasa, or the first month of the Indian lunar calendar, the Draupadi Devi procession emerges from the Dharmaraya temple in the heart of the city near the headquarters of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, which passes through various estates before concluding.

“Legend has it that Draupadi Devi on her way to heaven was hindered by Thimirasura. To master it, Draupadi takes the form of Goddess Aadi Shakti and creates an army of Veerakumaras, Gowda, Ganacharya, Pujari and the Vanni Kula Kshatriyas,” said Ramesh, who belongs to the Vanni Kula Kshatriya community.

After the demon’s death, Draupadi started his journey to heaven again when the leaders of his army asked him to stay with them.

Draupadi then assured them that every year at Chaitra Masa she would spend three days. These three days are celebrated as Hasi Karaga, Pongal and Pete Karaga.

On the last day of the nine-day festivities, Pete Karaga is celebrated when the temple priest comes out in procession holding the jasmine-decorated deity on top of his head.

Carrying the deity, the priest dressed in turmeric-soaked garments takes the Karaga to different places in and around the Dharmaraya temple.

He goes to Karagana Kunte, a reservoir inside Cubbon Park where the Pongame Oil Tree is revered. He also goes inside the BBMP headquarters where special prayers are performed in a centuries-old temple.

The Karaga also goes to the Dargah in accordance with the Sufi’s wish.

“The Dharmaraya Swami Temple was built under the rulers of the Ganges. Karaga festival has about 800 years of history, but the tradition of visiting Dargah started about 200 years ago and continues to this day,” Ramesh said.

In keeping with centuries-old tradition, the Pete Karaga visited Dargah and the festivities ended early on Sunday, he added.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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