Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bangalore's very own unsurpassed habbas

Bangalore's very own unsurpassed habbas

Staff Reporter

The Karaga procession electrifies the festive atmosphere. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

BANGALORE: A cosmopolitan city that makes people from around the world feel comfortable — that is Bangalore for you.

However, look beyond the glitz and you can see the robust, rustic origins of the globalised city. Three festivals — not the commercialised Bangalore Habba variety — ingrained in the psyche of the city form a vital part of the cultural heritage of the metroplois.

Karaga, the most famous of the three, is celebrated for nine days in the Chaitra masa to welcome the New Year and is a tribute to Draupadi, considered a representative of the ideal woman. A metal pot with a long floral arrangement atop and contents that have remained a secret, the Karaga is carried by a priest from the Dharmarayaswamy temple at Nagarathapet.

It travels through the old city areas of Cubbonpet, Ganigarapet, Avenue Road, Doddapet, Akkipet, Balepet, Kilari Road and surrounding areas of K.R. Market. A unique feature is its halt at the Dargah-e-Sharif of Hazrat Tawkal Mastan, the 18th Century saint symbolising communal amity.

Kadlekkai Parishe, the groundnut festival, is celebrated in the last week of the Karthike month of the Kannada calendar. It takes place at the Dodda Basavanna temple and the Bugle Rock area in Basavanagudi and hundreds of vendors sell newly harvested groundnut among other items.

The 10-day St. Mary's feast celebrations in August at St. Mary's Basilica reflects the secular ethos of the city where people of all faiths from different parts of Karnataka and neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu come to offer worship. The whole of Shivajinagar takes a saffron hue as most people visiting the church wear saffron-coloured clothes.

These festivals, part of the city's intangible heritage, if properly publicised, could bring the increasingly isolated Bangalorean closer to the newcomers.


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