Thursday, December 06, 2007

When India's Silicon Valley goes nuts over groundnuts

When India's Silicon Valley goes nuts over groundnuts
Bangalore, IANS:
On two days every year, India's IT hub literally goes nuts over groundnuts. Thousands buy peanuts by the kilo as offering to Basava or Nandi, the great bull of Hindu god Shiva.

The two-day Kadalaekai Parishe or groundnut fair begins every year on the last Monday of the Hindu calendar month of Karthika, considered auspicious.

The fair is held in front of the Dodda Basavana Gudi (Big Bull Temple) in south Bangalore, about six km from the city centre. This year's fair, that concluded Tuesday, had around 500 farmers selling groundnuts, costing between Rs.10 and Rs.15 a kg.

Police estimated that around 150,000 people visited the fair over the two days. On Monday morning, hundreds of them also offered prayers at the temple.

Hundreds of farmers, some from as far as Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri, Salem and Krishnagiri towns, a two- to four-hour bus ride from Bangalore, bring their crop to the fair as tens of thousands of people flock to it over two days.

Legend has it that on every full moon day, a bull would ravage the groundnut fields in the area where the Bull Temple now stands. After exhausting all avenues to scare the bull away, farmers thought it must be Shiva himself appearing in the form of a bull.

They worshipped the bull and pledged to offer the first peanut crop, following which the bull stopped damaging their crops.

In 1537, Kempe Gowda, the builder of Bangalore, constructed a temple atop a hillock in the area and installed an idol of Basava found nearby. He named it the Big Bull Temple in view of the huge size of the idol.

The giant bull, carved out of a single rock, is 4.6 metres tall. Since then the two-day fair is held on the streets around the temple.

A large variety of groundnuts were sold during the fair. The two-day affair resembles a village fair as stalls selling bangles, sweets, spiced groundnuts, juice and ice cream also come up.


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