(Last Updated on : 15/03/2013)
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.
During Karaga festival young men clad in only dhoti and turban participate in a procession they also carry swords with them. Such young men are called 'Veerkumaras' or valiant young men. However, only people belonging to the Tigala community can become veerkumaras. These young men dance while walking on the fire and strike the sword on their bare chests. If blood oozes out then they are disqualified from the formal procedures. The procession is taken out at night. The devotees taking part in this spectacle respond to the beating of the drums and dikhdi. They also keep on taking the name of Govinda.
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.
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