Spectacle under the full moon

The Karaga festival is a well-known tradition of the Thigala community in Karnataka and Bangalore in particular. A Citizen Matters pic feature.

Karaga is one of the oldest festivals in Karnataka and is also celebrated in Tamilnadu. In Bangalore, the Dharmarayaswamy Temple in Thigalarpet (central Bangalore, between the City Market area and Richmond Town) has been the focal point of this festival. Karaga ran its course in the third week of April this year. These pictures were taken on the night of 20 April, a full moon.

Dharmarayaswamy temple, Bangalore

A huge crowd in front of the Dharmarayaswamy temple, this is the only entrance path used by the Veerakumaras and other followers. There were people as far as the eyes could see. People were on almost top of
every balcony and roof.

Veerakumaras of Dharmarayaswamy temple, Bengaluru

These are the Veerakumaras. They marched in hundreds from near the Corporation Circle towards the Dharmarayaswamy temple.

R K Keshavamurthy from Rudrapatna, Bengalooru

Carnatic exponent R K Keshavamurthy from Rudrapatna; he was sitting at a vantage point from where the Dharmarayaswamy temple was visible also and the proceedings. The music
was broadcast on huge PA systems and was heard all over the area.

About Karaga

Adishakti Draupadi is the community deity of the Vanikula Kshatriya Thigala community, and Karaga is the 9-day festival observed by them in reverence to the Goddess. The Thigalas believe that Draupadi Shakti (power) brims over during the Karaga festival and the Karaga carrier dressing as a female is symbolic of Draupadi.

Procession of God, Minerva circle, Bangalore

This was a procession of another god that started somewhere near Minerva
circle. There was a number of processions like this and all of them finally ended up near the Dharmarayaswamy temple.

The karaga itself is a mud pot, on which stands a tall floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier’s head. The karaga-bearer himself symbolises goddess Draupadi and is therefore adorned like a woman. The karaga-bearer leaves the temple around midnight. The goddess is brought for the darshan of the devotees from the temple on the head of the karaga-bearer.

The festival’s route in Bangalore begins at the Dharmarayaswamy temple and snakes through the old city via Cubbonpet, Ganigarapet, Avenue Road, Dodderpet, Akkipet, Balepet, Kilari Road, Nagarathpet and surrounding areas.

The karaga is expertly balanced on the carrier’s head. The carrier, in his temporary avatar as Draupadi, goes to the houses of the Veerakumaras where their families perform pooja to the karaga. The carrier is practically in a trance even as he dances along with the Veerakumaras (who are carrying their swords). By the time the procession returns to the temple it is dawn.

References
Text for this feature is courtesy of Wikipedia and Karaga.org. Citizen Matters has not checked the validity of any interpretations, and does not make any claims to its authoritativeness.

Comments:

  1. Deepa Mohan says:

    Excellent coverage.Wish I had been able to go there…but practicality intervened!

  2. Anush Shetty says:

    Superb stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Chandra Shekhar Balachandran says:

    I just registered on Citizen Matters. The Karaga pictures caught my eye. I couldn’t attend the night festivities, but went in the morning for a while and took some pictures.

    I don’t know if this is permitted here… I will put it in anyway. I am sure I will find out if it is appropriate!

    I have just started blogging on Geography and the first entry was on Karaga. You can read it here: http://tiigs.org/blog/?p=60

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Unsafe spots, weak policing, poor support for violence victims: Safety audit reveals issues

The audit conducted by women in resettlement sites in Chennai recommends better coordination between government departments.

In recent years, the resettlement sites in Chennai have become areas of concern due to many infrastructure and safety challenges affecting their residents. People in resettlement sites like Perumbakkam, Semmencherry, Kannagi Nagar, and other places grapple with problems of inadequate water supply, deteriorating housing quality, insufficient police presence, lack of streetlights and so on. In Part 2 of the two-part series on women-led safety audits of resettlement sites, we look at the findings of the recent audits and recommend improvements and policy changes.         Here are some of the key findings of the safety and infrastructure audits in the resettlement…

Similar Story

Empowering resettled communities through women-led safety audits in Chennai

With more than two lakh people living in resettlement sites in Chennai and beyond, there are concerns about their safety and access to facilities.

Safety is a fundamental necessity for all, particularly for women, children, young people, elders, persons with disabilities, gender-diverse groups, and other vulnerable sections of society. This basic need fosters a sense of inclusion and enables active participation in family, community, and societal activities. Enhanced safety promotes mobility, physical and mental wellness, employability and financial independence. It supports autonomy in decision-making, including decisions related to reproductive health. It also encourages increased social engagement and participation in governance. Improved safety in personal, professional, and community spaces works as a catalyst for empowerment and reduces systemic gender disparities. In Part 1 of a…