Festivals in Karnataka

Festivals in Karnataka

Deepavali or Diwali :- Deepavali-Festival

Deepavali or Diwali is the pageant of diyas or deepas (lights). This five day festival marks the Demon Narkasura killed by means of Lord Krishna, has been celebrated throughout the country and all around the international through Hindus. it’s also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika. The competition Of lighting fixtures is the most celebrated Hindu festival. it’s far the pageant of renovating our lives.

The festive arrangements begin long earlier than the competition, with homes and enterprise gadgets get cleaned and white washed. Then comes the looking for new garments for all the participants of the own family, the chocolates and savouries are prepared,and decorations with streamers, lamps and bursting of crackers.

Kedara Gauri VrathaKedara Gauri Vratha :-

On this day, special puja to Shiva known as as Kedara Gauri Vrata is performed. it’s far stated that Goddess Parvati executed this puja to gain half of of Lord Shiva and therefore Shiva have become ‘Ardha Narishwara’. Lord Vishnu blessed with Vaikunta Loka gazing Kedara Vrata. Lord Brahma got Hamsa Vahana (Swan car). Bhagyawati and Punyavati got numerous wealth staring at Kedara Vrata.

Ganesha ChaturthiGanesha Chaturthi:-

Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha pageant is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, resurrected to lifestyles on this planet with the pinnacle of elephant. it’s far celebrated as it’s far the birthday of Lord Ganesha.. it’s also referred to as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, Chavath in Konkani and as Chathaa in Nepal Bhasa.
This pageant is observed within the lunar month of bhadrapada (a Hindu month), shukla paksha chathurthi (fourth day of the waxing moon length), madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. typically, the day falls someday among August and September . The pageant lasts for 10 days, finishing on Ananta Chaturdashi.

Festivals in Karnataka

Gowri Festival, karnataka festivalsGowri Festival :-

Gowri Habba or pageant is well known an afternoon before Ganesh Chaturthi. it’s far a huge festival in components of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. Goddess Gowri, wife of Lord Shiva, the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya is worshiped via out India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees power, braveness, valour. She is the most effective of all the Goddess and is the very incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya.
it is believed that at the 13th day Thadige of the month of Bhaadrapada Goddess Gowri is welcomed at her patents’ house. day after today Lord Ganesha, her son comes as if to take her back to Kailasa. The Swarna Gowri vratha is finished on the event, to appease the Goddess.

 

Vara Mahalakshmi Festival in karnatakaVara Mahalakshmi Festival :-

Mahalakshmi is the goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and prosperity. She is worshiped for healthful progeny, in addition to the fitness and long existence of the husband. Vratha is located on a Friday that falls earlier than the entire Moon day of the month of Shravanamasa (August – September).
The Vratha is as follows. Early within the morning ladies after taking bathtub, make a rangoli at the vicinity in which the kalasha is positioned. They draw a lotus with eight petals. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver) full of rice and topped with clean mango leaves, a coconut and fabric are positioned on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked.

Mahashivaratri - festivals in karnatakaMahashivaratri :-

Mahashivaratri, which is celebrated in February, is ready worshiping Lord Shiva, whose attraction is strong and persistent in same degree amongst all sections of the society. most Hindu fairs are celebrated in the course of sunlight hours but Shivaratri is all approximately maintaining a night-long vigil because it’s believed that Lord Shiva saved the universe from darkness and lack of understanding.
The 14th day of every month (Krishna Chaturdasi) is referred to as Shivaratri, but the one inside the month of Magha is referred to as Mahashivaratri as it’s far taken into consideration to be the best of all. on this day, Lord Shiva drank poison (haalahala) produced through the churning of the sea of milk and, with the aid of doing so, saved the universe.

Kambala_BuffaloRaceKambala – A Traditional Celebration in Rural Karnataka :-

Kambala is an annual pageant celebrated in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The competition involves the conventional buffalo race, a famous and precise recreation most of the farming network of the state.
This every year event is well known with a lot enthusiasm and passion in most parts of Dakshina Kannada, such as Mangalore. The Kambala festival season starts offevolved in November and lasts till March.

Quick Facts

  • Area: Dakshina Kannada, including Mangalore
  • Highlight: Buffalo races
  • Significance: Beginning of the harvesting season
  • Time: November to March

 

makar-sankranti-karnataka festivalsMakara Shankranti :-

Makara Shankranti is the harvest competition, a brand new 12 months and the competition of rejoicing and celebrations embracing the entire household friends and associates, the servants and the terrible, the cows, after which all other living creatures symbolizes regularly occurring love and kindness.
Astronomical importance
The astronomical importance of the competition is that it marks the start of Uttarayana, the solar’s motion northward for a six-month period. Makar Sankranti refers back to the occasion of the sun getting into the zodiac signal of Makara (Capricorn). The Sanskrit time period “Shankramana” method “to start to circulate”. It generally falls on the 14th or 15th of January every year.

Mysore Dasara Walking TourMysore Dasara Walking Tour :-

Wouldn’t it be superb if we should stroll thru the pages of Mysore’s rich cultural heritage? nicely now a walk thru Mysore city with a informed manual is feasible for a small charge. examine directly to discover the walk excursion in the course of divine birthday celebration of the navaratris in Mysore.
The Splendour of Mysore Dasara
The Mysore Dasara, also called the Nadahabba is a 10 day celebration that took shape within the fifteenth century. maximum of the rituals and practices still found all through Dasara are remnants of a tradition that has sustained the passing of 5 centuries.
The Wodeyars of Mysore celebrated the Dasara with top notch pomp, splendour and circumstance. The festivities encompass the 10 day illumination of the Mysore Palace. The breath-taking view of the illuminated silhouette against the pitch dark night time sky is certainly a wondrous sight to behold.
The festivities finish on Vijaydashami with the Jumboo Savari or the procession on the streets of Mysore. The Goddess Chamundeshwari positioned inside the golden Howdah is carried atop an elephant in a colourful procession. even as the procession is the maximum critical a part of the Dasara celebrations there are various events thru the ten days that are simply as spell binding to witness.
Royal Mysore Walks: Dressed taking walks excursions

wish to take a walk thru the pages of Mysore’s rich cultural history and records? comply with the person in the durbar apparel!
The publications at Royal Mysore Walks trust in giving the consumers a true Royal enjoy. The Kings of erstwhile Mysore state might invite visitors to a private durbar during the Dasara celebrations for highbrow conversations. The personal durbar way of life has been persevered with the aid of the Mysore Royal circle of relatives till date.

Naga Panchami-Festival in karnatakaNaga Panchami :-

Panchami habba or festival  is one of the auspicious day for Hindu ladies. India, the land of  cobra, and snake charmers as it is well-known for, has  unique reverence to the snakes. The serpents are associated with many Gods within the Hindu mythology.
Naga (snake) Panchami is the fifth day of the Shravana month of the Hindu calendar. on this day sculpt pix or idols of snakes are made and worshipped via the us of a. In South India figures of snakes are drawn with pink sandalwood paste on timber forums, clay photographs are made in yellow and black shade. Off late people buy Snake Gods manufactured from silver , gold or Pancha Loha(combination of 5 metals preffered especially of worship).
human beings visit the Naga temple or “Ant hill” is worshipped in regards that snakes lived in Ant hills. people enhance the ant hill  with vermilon, turmeric, plants and fruits. They put together unique chocolates and savouries out of  until seeds, pop corn from jawar and so on. They provide milk and honey. some also carry out Puja to actual cobra, thinking about it as the sacred and the favorite of Lord Shiva.

Karaga Festival in karnatakaKaraga Festival – A Demonstration of the Rich Cultural and Religious Heritage of Karnataka :-

Karaga is one of the oldest and broadly celebrated fairs of Karnataka. Karaga pageant depicts the wealthy cultural and spiritual historical past of Karnataka. it is celebrated in honour of the Goddess Shakti. The competition is held at the well-known Dharmarayaswamy temple in Bangalore. The pageant starts on the whole moon day of Chaitra that falls in March/April. The pageant derives its call from an earthen pot wherein the Goddess Shakti is invoked. The celebrations closing for nine days, beginning from the entire moon day.The spotlight of the festival is a grand procession this is held in honour of Goddess Shakti on the entire moon night time.
The history of Karaga Festival
The birthday party of Karaga competition in Karnataka can be traced returned to over 5 centuries. it’s miles believed that the festival originated inside the Tigala network, a Tamil-speakme community of gardeners in Southern Karnataka. The Tigala network has been carrying ahead the lifestyle of the competition for several centuries.

festivals-ugadiUgadi – The Kannada New Year :-

The people of Karnataka consider Ugadi to be an auspicious time for taking off new ventures. this is the time while New yr’s Day is also celebrated in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
at the same time as it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is referred to as Gudipadawa.
beginning of Ugadi
The term “Ugadi” has its beginning within the Sanskrit word “Yugadi”, meaning ‘beginning of a brand new Yuga or period’. This traditional pageant is normally celebrated in the second 1/2 of March or in early April. people from throughout Karnataka rejoice this festival with a good deal enthusiasm and gaiety.

Groundnut FestivalGroundnut Festival :-

Kadalekai Parishe, the annual groundnut fair is held on the last Monday of Karthika Masa (month in Hindu calendar) near Dodda Ganesha, temple, near the Bull Temple at Basavanagudi in Bangalore.  The fair starts from the previous day with people thronging to the stalls selling buying variety of groundnuts.  The day is a full moon day with vendors from our state and the neighboring states bring their first harvest to the market.

A  legend behind the Kadlekai Parishe is that in olden days farmers were aghast to learn that their crop was being devoured in the night by some, one of the farmers wanted to investigate and on Kaarthika Maasa night which was pitch dark, he found out that the culprit was none other than Lord Shiva’s abode Nandi or Basava. Since then farmers collectively pledged their first crop to the Lord Basava.

Ayudha PoojaAyudha Pooja:-

Navaratri is one of the most colorful, dutiful and longest festival observed by Hindus in India. A nine day festival Navaratri (Nava means nine, Ratri means night) is also called as Dasara/Dushhera which usually falls some time between last week of September and first week of October. The dates are set according to the Hindu calender.

Navarathri means ‘nine nights’. What does the nine signify? There are nine grahas (planets. The human has nine openings. If a deep inquiry is made, it will be found that mankind is dependent on the planets (grahas). Although astrologers speak about nine planets, in reality, there are only two ‘planets’ that matter. They are raaga (attachment) and dwesha (hatred).

Krishna Janma Ashtami - karanataka festivalsKrishna Janma Ashtami :-

The Lord Krishna, the eighth avthar of Vishnu.His birthday falls on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha or the 8th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Shravan Masa. Popularly known as Janam Ashtami or Krishna Jayanthi.

This festival is celebrated on two days, once on the actual day ( Janam Ashtami) of his birth in prison at Mathura, and the next day (Krishna Jayanthi) on his being discovered in the house of Nand and Yashoda at Gokul. According to the Mythology and scriptures Krishna plays an enlightening role in the Mahabharatha (Great epic) giving us the life enduring message from the Bhagavat Gita.

This is the festival of sweets and revives the childhood stages of Krishna. The Lord is worshipped with offerings – milk, curd, butter, cream, honey and avvalakki (all are Krishna’s favourites), variety of fruits and flowers along with lots and lots of sweets and savouries. People decorate the idols of God with flowers and decorate the Lord with silk and jewelery. They arrange dolls/idols depicting the childhood of Krishna in the cradle, stealing butter, playing with the Gopikas, Mother Yashodha viewing the Vishwa Roopa Darshana, Krishna with Radha etc.

 


Deepavali or Diwali is the festival of diyas or deepas (lights). This five day festival marks the Demon Narkasura killed by Lord Krishna, has been  celebrated across the country and all over the world by Hindus. It is also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika. The Festival Of Lights is the most celebrated Hindu festival. It is the festival of renovating our lives.

The festive preparations begin long before the festival, with houses and business units get cleaned and white washed. Then comes the shopping for new clothes for all the members of the family, the sweets and savouries are prepared,and decorations with streamers, lamps and bursting of crackers.

Dhanteras

These five festive days begin each year on the Ashvija Krishna Thrayodasi (thirteenth day of Hindu calendar in the month of Ashvija Krishna ) This day fo the festival is called Dhanteras, is considered auspicious to buy new articles for house and the family. Owing to this people buy gold, silver articles or even vehicles and home appliances. The houses are cleaned and decorated with rangoli, haldi kumkum, etc. A pot filled with water is worshipped.

karnataka festivals

Naraka Chaturdasi

The second day is the  Naraka Chaturdasi falls of the  fourteenth day of Ashvija Krishna. This is the day when Narakasura King of Pragyotispura is slained by Lord Krishna. Every gets up before sunrise (Brahmi Muhurtha) and take a oil massage preferably till seed oil/ till seeds paste and shikakai(herb used for skin and hair wash).

This also may have been followed by our ancesstors as ritual to keep our skin from drying due to the season’s cold and dry weather. Prayers are offered for destruction of sins and evil, followed by bursting of crackers. Pumpkin sweets are offered to God and shared with guests. On this day the maternal uncle will gift his nieces and nephews with goodies and crackers.

Ashvija Krishna Amavasya

The third day is the  Ashvija Krishna Amavasya or new moon worship goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. There is special puja at business institutions and houses.  In the evening, lit lamps are placed at all doorways and windows of the house and bursting crackers.  People are invited  by their friends and relatives for Lakshmi Puja and sweet and gifts are exchanged.

This is the big business to all vendors. Women blow counch shells and beat drums and winnowing baskets to ward off evil. People pay tribute to their ancestors in form of puja. Traders worship Goddess Lakshmi, account books and cash boxes.Fresh account are maintained from this day.

Nomu / Nomulu

In South India, special puja is held on Amavasya called Nomu. This is very sacredly perfomed. There is special thread called the Nomu Dhara, which is tied to the worshipper right hand after prforming puja. This custom is acquire through ancestral only. Those families who have this ritual are eligible to perform this puja.

The Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and food, fruits, nuts, in multiples of 21 are placed in twin winnow as offering to God, new clothes, areca  nuts, food arranged in plaintain leaf is offered as Naivedya. Adrasam or Kajjaya is a savoury made of rice flour and jaggery then deep fried is specially prepared on this day.

karnataka festivals

Kedara Gauri Vrata

On this day, special puja to Shiva called as Kedara Gauri Vrata is performed. It is said that Goddess Parvati performed this puja to attain half of Lord Shiva and hence Shiva became ‘Ardha Narishwara’. Lord Vishnu blessed with Vaikunta Loka observing Kedara Vrata. Lord Brahma got Hamsa Vahana (Swan Vehicle). Bhagyawati and Punyavati got a lot of wealth observing Kedara Vrata.

Balipadyami

The fourth day Balipadyami in Kartika Sukla is celebrated on the occation of Vamana stamping the most powerful and charitable Asura king Bali to Pathala Loka (netherworld). Bali is revered as one among the seven chiranjivis and returns to visit his kingdom on this day every year. On this day  one can buy home appliances, goods and very auspicious for buying new things.

Obbatu or Holige made of jaggery, dal, maida and ghee, is made on this occation. This is the season to offer gifts many institutions off incentives and gifts to their client/employees. Dry fruits and complimentary gifts are ever in demand during this season.

The last day of Diwali is the Yamadvitiaya also called as Bhratridvitiya is a day dedicated for  sisters to meet their brothers. According to our scriptures Lord Yama ‘s sister Yamuna met him and offered him many sweets on this day. Hence this day has the significance that all sister and brother should meet on this day of the fesival.

Ganesha Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, resurrected to life on earth with the head of elephant. It is celebrated as it is the birthday of Lord Ganesha.. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, Chavath in Konkani and as Chathaa in Nepal Bhasa.

This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada (a Hindu month), shukla paksha chathurthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period), madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. Typically, the day falls sometime between August and September . The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is the supreme god of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. He is the Lord who is first worshipped before any holy occasion or puja.

Lord Vinayaka is revered as the preserver of all good things and prevents Vigna (meaning obstruction/bad omen). His motto is Shubh-Laabh (good prospect and good prosperity).

Significance of Ganesha Festival

According to the Holy Hindu scriptures, Lord Ganesha or Ganapati (the names mean “Lord of Ganas”, Ganas are the worshipers of Lord Shiva. According to the legend, Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of resolution, was away at a war. Pavarti, his wife wanted to bathe. She had no one to guard the door to her house, she conceived of the idea of creating a son who could guard her. Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door and instructed him not to let anyone enter. In the meantime, Lord Shiva returned from the battle.

Ganesha and Shiva did not know each other. Ganesha stopped Shiva from entering Parvati’s chamber. Shiva, enraged by Ganesh’s impudence, took his trident (Trishul) and cut off Ganesha’s head. Pavarti emerged to find Ganesha decapitated and flew into a rage. She took on the form of the Goddess Kali and threatened destruction to the three worlds of Heaven, Earth and the subterranean earth.

Fearing the inevitable, the other Gods implore Shiva to pacify Parvati. Shiva sent out his ganas, or hordes, to bring the head of the first living being with his head towards the north (the auspicious direction associated with wisdom). They came across was an elephant. So they brought the head of this elephant and Shiva placed it on the trunk of Parvati’s son and breathed life into him. Parvati was overjoyed and embraced her son, the elephant-headed boy whom Shiva named Ganesha, the lord of his ganas.

There are many stories related to Lord Ganesha, on Ganesha Chaturthi, one should not see the Moon. It is said that Ganesha fond of Modakas ate too many of them. His stomach was so big he was unable to walk. He picked up a snake on the way and tied it to his stomach as a belt. The Moon or Chandra found it hilarious and laughed at Ganesha. Ganesha was furious and his cursed him that any who sees the Moon on his birthday would be cursed.

Ganesha has a mouse as his Vahana (vehicle). Once Narada meets Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi in Kailash. He offers them a mango. Ganesha and Subramanya, who happened to be there fight for the mango. Hence a race is set to around all the world thrice, who ever comes first is the winner, would get the mango. Subramanya on his peacock, set out to win the race. But Ganesha, went circling round Shiva and Parvati three times, as he considered them as the world. Thus Shiva blessed him as the most knowledgeable and the winner of the race.

History of Ganesha Festival

In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter Tilak chose Ganesha as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule because of his wide appeal as “the god for Everyman”.

Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them” in his nationalistic strivings against the British.

Ganesha Chaturthi

Celebrations During Ganesh Chaturthi

Potters and their clan plan the making of Ganesh Idols, 2-3 months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha are made for sold by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated & depict Lord Ganesh in various poses, colours themes. The size of these statues may vary from 3/4th of an inch to over 25 feet.

While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra,Goa ( Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world ) Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. Outside India, it is celebrated by Newars in Nepal.

Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mantapas (pandals) in every locality. The mantapas are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, small banana saplings, lights, etc or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.

The statues are worshiped with families and friends. The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then invokes life into the statue amidst the chanting of mantras. This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows.

The offerings include 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass, red flowers, coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas. The statue is anointed with Kumkum & Sandalwood paste . Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.

Along with Ganesha, Gouri idol is also place in South Indian families and worshipped. Gouri Vrata is performed as “Mangala Gauri” by women for good life and prosperity.

The celebrations go on for 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi. On the 11th day, the statue is taken in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare through the streets to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash and taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.

“Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukar ya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year) is the slogan sang while immersing the idol. After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the statue to the river to immerse it.

Ganesha loves food, his favourite is Modak, hence is the main sweet dish during the festival. It is called modakam in South India. A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried.

Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikaiin Kannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape.

This festival are widely popular, with local communities (mandalas) vying with each other to put up the biggest statue & the best pandal. The festival is also the time for cultural activities like songs, dramas and orchestra and community activities like free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, etc.

It has become a very critical and important economic activity for Maharashtra. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public.

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations Outside of India

The festival is similarly celebrated in many locations across the world. The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, an organisation of Hindus based in the US celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi by organizing many cultural programs.

In the UK, the migrant Hindu population celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi through a Southall based organization such as, The Hindu culture and Heritage Society, UK at The Vishwa Hindu Temple. The Idol was immersed in the river Thames at Putney Pier.

Over the years the festival gained such popularity on the island that Mauritian government has attributed a public holiday for that day.

Environmental Issues

The most serious impact of the Ganesh festival on the natural environment is due to the immersion of idols made of Plaster of Paris into lakes, rivers and the sea. .It takes much longer to dissolve and in the process of dissolution releases toxic elements into the water . The chemical paints used to adorn these plaster idols, themselves contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium.

On the final day of the Ganesh festival thousands of plaster idols are immersed into water bodies by devotees. These increase the level of acidity in the water and the content of heavy metals. The day after the immersion, shoals of dead fish can be seen floating on the surface of the water as a result of this sudden increase.

Several non governmental and governmental bodies have been addressing this issue. Amongst the solutions proposed by various groups some are as follows:

  1. Recycling of plaster idols to repaint them and use them again the following year.
  2. Return to the traditional use of natural clay idols and immerse the idol in a bucket of water at home.
  3. Use of a permanent idol made of stone and brass, used every year and a symbolic immersion only.
  4. Ban on the immersion of plaster idols into lakes, rivers and the sea.
  5. Use of biodegradable materials such as paper mache to create Ganesh idols.
  6. Encouraging people to immerse the idols in tanks of water rather than in natural water bodies.

Gowri Festival

Gowri Habba or festival is celebrated a day before Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. Goddess Gowri, wife of Lord Shiva, the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya is worshiped through out India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees power, courage, valour. She is the most powerful of all the Goddess and is the very incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya.

It is believed that on the thirteenth day Thadige of the month of Bhaadrapada Goddess Gowri is welcomed at her patents’ house. The next day Lord Ganesha, her son comes as if to take her back to Kailasa. The Swarna Gowri vratha is performed on the occasion, to appease the Goddess.

Swarna Gowri Vratha

On this day, Hindu women and young girts are in new/grand traditional attire. They make either jalagauri or arishinadagauri (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric) and bestow her for Puja. These days ready-made beautifully painted and decorated clay idols of Goddess Gowri can be bought along with Ganesha statues, at the local market. The goddess’ idol is mounted in a plate, with a cereal (rice or wheat) in it. According to the Vrata, Asthis pooje is to be performed with ‘suchi’ (cleanliness) and ‘shraddhe’ (dedication).

A mantapa, generally decorated with banana stem and mango leaves, is built around the idol. The Gauri is decorated with decorations made of cotton, vastra(silk cloth/saree), flower garlands, and ladies get their ‘gauridaara’ (a sacred thread with 16 knots ) tied to their right wrists, as blessings of gauri and as part of the vratha.

At least 5 baginas are prepared as part of the vratha. Each baagina usually contains a packet of arshina (turmeric), kumkuma(vermilion) , black bangles, black beads (used in the mangalsutra), a comb, a small mirror, baLe bicchoLe, coconut, blouse piece, dhaanya (cereal), rice, tur dal, green dal, wheat or rava and jaggery cut in a cube form. The bagina is offered in a traditional mora (winnow painted with turmeric). One such bagina is offered to Goddess Gowri and set aside. The remaining Gowri baaginas are given to married women.

Gowri Festival

Gauri Habbada – Mangaladravya

Another specialty of this festival is that the ‘tavaru maneyavaru’ (the married woman’s parents / brothers) send gauri habbada – mangaladravya to the married girls of their family. Some send money as representation of mangaladravya.

In South India many sweet and savouries like the delectable hoLige / Obattu, payasa, Huggi/chitranna and Bajji, Kosumbari are prepared and offer to the Deity before family and friends gather for a traditional get to gather. It continues to the next day with the celebrations for Lord Ganesha’s Festival .

Vara Mahalakshmi Festival

Mahalakshmi is the goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and prosperity. She is worshiped for healthy progeny, as well as the health and long life of the husband. Vratha is observed on a Friday that falls before the full Moon day of the month of Shravanamasa (August – September).

The Vratha is as follows. Early in the morning women after taking bath, make a rangoli on the place where the kalasha is placed. They draw a lotus with 8 petals. The sacred Kalasha (brass/copper/silver) filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, a coconut and cloth are placed on the mandala and Lakshmi is invoked.

Goddess is invoked by decorating the Kalasa with flowers, jewellery, vastra (new clothes – saree) fruits, dry fruits, fresh grains,  sweets and savouries. Some place coins, or rupee notes or make a garland of notes. The Vratha is performed with the beginning of Puja to Lord Ganesha. Then the main worship of Varalakshmi begins.

The raksha is worshiped for a second time and tied to the right hand of the woman. Articles are given as charity to sumangalis (married woman).

In South India, savouries like obattu, kosumbari, puliyogare, huli anna, hesaru bele payasa are made on this festival. In the evening women visit other houses and exchange sweets and offerings.

Lord Narayana/Vishnu/Hari husband of Lakshmi, an embodiment of Shuddha Sattwa, is the preserver of the world. He is also called the Ashta Lakshmi Padhi.  Lakshmi has 8 avthars (incarnation):

  • Adi (Protector) Lakshmi,
  • Dhana (Wealth) Lakshmi,
  • Dhanya (Food and Grains) Lakshmi,
  • Vijaya (Victory) Lakshmi,
  • Vidhya (Knowledge) Lakshmi,
  • Santana (Offsprings) Lakshmi,
  • Dhairya (Bravery and Strength) Lakshmi,
  • Soubhagya (Sumangali- Long life of husband) Lakshmi.

Vara Mahalakshmi Festival

The importance or significance of the Varalakshmi Vrata  was narrated by Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvathi in Skanda purana. Those who perform this Vratam will be blessed with Dhana (food), Dhanya (food), Aayu (Long life), Aarogya (health), Aishwarya (wealth), Santanana (progeny) and Soubhagya (long life of husband).

According to the legend, once a lady named Charumath lived in the Maratha kingdom. Pious lady, she indulged in whole heartened worship of the Goddess and took good care of her family – respectful to her in-laws, loving and caring her husband and children. One day she dreamt about Goddess Lakshmi telling her to perform the puja . She, with the consent of her family performed this Vratam and informs other ladies too.

With the blessings of the Goddess she, her family and friends will be bestowed with success and wealth. Hence forth they shared their luck many more people.

With the blessing of both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi one can find peace and prosperity in ones life.

Mahashivaratri

Mahashivaratri, which is celebrated in February, is about worshiping Lord Shiva, whose appeal is strong and persistent in equal measure among all sections of the society. Most Hindu festivals are celebrated during daytime but Shivaratri is all about keeping a night-long vigil as it’s believed that Lord Shiva saved the universe from darkness and ignorance.

The 14th day of every month (Krishna Chaturdasi) is called Shivaratri, but the one in the month of Magha is called Mahashivaratri as it is considered to be the greatest of all. On this day, Lord Shiva drank poison (haalahala) produced by the churning of the ocean of milk and, by doing so, saved the universe.

Also on this day, he married Goddesses Parvathi and performed Shiva Tandava Nritya, which is recorded in the Natyashastra.

The main themes of this festival are ahimsa, satya, compassion and forgiveness. Following these principles, as also fasting and jagrana (keeping vigil in the night) are the main features of this festival.

On this day, the Linga, which signifies Lord Shiva, is bathed in panchamrutha (a mixture of milk, curds, ghee, sugar and honey) and worshipped amidst vedic hymns (chanting of rudra mantra), bael leaves (bhilwapatre) and flowers. The next morning, the fast is broken.

Mahashivaratri

The festival is observed by practicing Ahimsa, Satya, Compassion, Forgiveness and absence of jealousy. A day long (sunrise to sunrise) fast and “Jaagran” (all night vigil) are other features of Maha Shivaratri.

On this day, devotees perform rudrahoma (rudrayaga) at temples and homes. People prepare delicious food items as naivedya to Lord Shiva. By worshipping the Lord, one can attain peace and prosperity, for he forgives the sins we commit in our life.

Kambala – A Traditional Celebration in Rural Karnataka

Kambala is an annual festival celebrated in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The festival involves the traditional buffalo race, a popular and unique sport among the farming community of the state.

This yearly event is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervour in most parts of Dakshina Kannada, including Mangalore. The Kambala festival season starts in November and lasts till March.

Quick Facts

  • Area: Dakshina Kannada, including Mangalore
  • Highlight: Buffalo races
  • Significance: Beginning of the harvesting season
  • Time: November to March

History of Kambala, Karnataka

The origin of the Kambala celebration can be traced back to more than a thousand years. During the early days of the festival it was known as Karaga celebrations. Later it came to be known as Kambala celebrations. There are different beliefs regarding the origin of the festival.

Kambala and the Farming Community

According to one belief, Kambala is a festival that originated in the farming community of Karnataka. The festival is dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

It was celebrated to please the Gods for a good harvest. It was also a form of entertainment or recreational sport for the farming community. The winner of the buffalo race was rewarded with a coconut and such other things.

Kambala – the Sport of the Royal Family

The other belief regarding the origin of Kambala is that the buffalo races originated as a sport for the royal family’s amusement or pleasure.

According to legend, the festival was started by the Hoysala Kings to see if the buffaloes could be trained and used in war. The Hoysala Kings were astonished to see the speed of the buffaloes and started racing them against one another. As such, this developed as a sport for the royals. Later the tradition was carried on by the feudal lords of those regions and finally it was continued by the ordinary people.

The festival has managed to grow in popularity through the centuries. Today the age-old festival is organized on a large scale and a huge crowd gathers to participate in the celebrations.

Types of Kambalas

Traditionally, there were two types of Kambalas :

  1. Pookere Kambala
  2. Bale Kambala

The celebration of Bale Kambala was discontinued about 900 years ago. So, the Kambala that we see today is the Pookere Kambala variety.

How is Kambala Festival Celebrated?

Kambala is a simple event of buffalo races that is usually held over a two-day period. The festival begins with an inaugural ceremony and a parade of the participating farmers along with their prized buffaloes. Soon after, the much anticipated buffalo races start.

Each team comprises of two buffaloes and a farmer who controls the buffaloes. Two teams are made to race down two slushy tracks to determine the fastest team.

A Buffalo Race and 2 Muddy Tracks

The buffalo race is held on 2 muddy tracks that are placed parallel to each other. The racing tracks are normally about 120 to 160 metres in length and 8 to 12 metres in width, depending on the space available. The tracks are ploughed into a muddy field that is made slushy with water.

Traditionally there used to be just one track. But now 2 tracks are used for the race, though in some areas the tradition of a single track is still followed.

The Kambala – A Festival of Cheer

The festival takes place among a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers and supporters. The atmosphere becomes taut with anticipation and excitement during the races.

As each farmer frantically edges his buffaloes to race on the track and reach the finishing line at the earliest, the crowd cheers them. The farmer whose buffaloes cover the distance within the shortest time is declared the winner.

The races continue overnight. Different types of races are held at different levels that lead up to a grand finale. The grand finale is generally held in the afternoon of the second day. The swiftest pair of buffaloes is declared the winner of the race and the farmer controlling those buffaloes is awarded the prize.

Kambala – A Traditional Celebration in Rural Karnataka

Categories of Kambala Festival

The festival of Kambala takes place in various categories. The four main categories are –

  • Negilu
  • Hagga
  • Adda Halage
  • Kene Halage

Negilu – In this category of the buffalo race, while racing, the farmer holds a plough that is tied to the pair of buffaloes. The thing to note is that this plough is just a representation of the actual plough used in the fields. It is a light wooden replica of the plough made especially for the race.

This category is mainly for the entry level buffaloes, which generally have no prior experience of the race. However, generally there are junior and senior rounds in this category.

Hagga – In this category of the race, the buffalo pair has a rope tied directly to them. This category involves buffaloes that are well experienced in taking part in the race. The buffaloes of this category normally possesses more speed that the buffaloes participating under the Nigelu category. The Hagga category also has junior and senior rounds of competition.

Adda Halage – In this category of the buffalo race a wooden plank is tied to the pair of buffaloes. The farmer stands on this wooden plank while the race is in progress. This category is mainly for the senior buffaloes, which generally have prior experience of the race.

Kene Halage – In this category of the buffalo race a round-shaped wooden block is involved during the race. The farmer stands on the wooden block on a single leg. The wooden block has 2 holes through which water gushes out while running.

The height of the water gushing out through the holes is measured to determine the winner of the race. The height of the water gushing out depends on the speed of the racer – more the speed, more is the height of the water.

This category is for the most experienced farmer and the most experienced buffaloes. Generally, in the middle of the track, 2 strips of white cloth are tied across the track. These are used for height measurement of the water during the race.

If a farmer has water reaching to the markers, he is declared a winner. If more than one farmer achieves this feat, all of them who achieve this feat are declared winners of the race.

Kene Halage and Adda Halage are two categories of the buffalo race that are slowly proceeding towards discontinuation. Now-a-days there are very few participants for these two categories as compared to the other categories. As such, the threat of these categories vanishing completely from the Kambala festival scene looms large over the festival.

Kambala in Mangalore

Mangalore is one of those places where Kambala is celebrated in a big manner. The Mangalore Kambala is celebrated annually at the Kadri Kambala fields. As such, it is popularly referred to as the Kadri Kambala or Mangalore Hobali Kambala.

Kadri Kambala is also known as Devara Kambala or God’s Kambala as it is associated with the Manjunatha Temple situated in Kadri, Mangalore. Legend has it that the Kambala festival was patronised by the kings of the Alupa dynasty who once ruled over Mangalore. For this reason, it is also known as Arasu Kambala or the king’s Kambala.

Apart from the kings, the kambala festival was also patronised by the famous households in Mangalore. It is said that in the ancient times, the buffaloes participating in the kambala festival were paraded in a procession that was accompanied by drum dancers.

Areas Where Kambala Festival is Popular

Kambala is a festival that is most popular in Mangalore and other southern coastal regions and remote villages of Karnataka. Districts such as Dakshina Kannada and Udupi celebrate this festival with much fanfare.

Every year Kambala is held in places like:

  • Bajagoli
  • Baradi Beedu
  • Bolantur
  • Kolatta
  • Majalu
  • Puttur
  • Kamalakettu
  • Uppinagadi

Present day celebration of Kambala festival

The Kambala festival started has evolved into a major festival for the farmers of the coastal Karnataka region. Today the festival has turned into a popular annual event that draws people from far and near who accumulate to witness this unique show of speed and balance.

These days the buffalo races are organised professionally. The buffaloes are trained throughout the year for the event. A well-organised Kambala sees the participation of 130 to 140 pairs of buffaloes and a crowd of around 20,000 spectators. As per a report of The Times of India, more than 45 Kambalas are held annually.

About 18 Kambalas are held under a Kambala Samithi while the rest are organised under the auspices of various temples or with political patronage. The awards range from gold to cash rewards.  Even tourists plan their trips during the Kambala season to witness the event.

Care for the buffaloes of Kambala Festival

Kambala is a festival that testes the speed and swiftness of the buffaloes. As such, the buffaloes are well-fed and cared for throughout the year. Some owners of the buffaloes also build separate swimming pools for the buffaloes that compete in the races.

Even the high court has imposed certain restrictions on the organisers and the participants regarding the treatment of the buffaloes during the races. The court primarily mentioned that the buffaloes should not be subjected to cruelty and they must be well-looked after and adequately fed.

Safety measures taken in Kambala festival

The Kambala festival involves high speed races of buffaloes in front of several thousand visitors. Accidents do occur sometimes while the races are in progress. As the buffaloes race ahead, sometimes they skid or topple. Even the farmer running with the buffaloes sometimes falls and gets hurt.

In this race both, the buffaloes as well as the farmer may suffer serious injuries, including fractures of the bones. As such, large Kambala organizers generally have an ambulance and veterinary doctors ready at the site of the festival for immediate control of such situations and to provide emergency medical aid.

Controversy regarding Kambala festival

The age-old tradition of buffalo races in Karnataka has been the cause of concern among animal lovers and animal activists for quite some time now.

The celebration of Kambala was stopped in Karnataka based on an order of Supreme Court, dated 7th May, 2014. This order was actually meant for the violent game of Jallikkatu, a bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu. The order did not mention Kambala.

However, due to a misinterpretation of the order by the animal husbandry department, the ban was linked to Kambala as well. As such, the district administration in Karnataka was issued directive from the animal husbandry department to ban Kambala. This order was met with much resentment by the organisers, the participants and the spectators of the popular festival.

This led the district Kambala committees to approach the high court on behalf of the Kambala committees. The high court passed an interim order on 15th December, 2014 and stayed the ban on Kambala.

The festival of Kambala is a joyful experience that must not be missed by anyone who wants to see the traditional sight of Karnataka.

Kambala time table-2015

The Kambala Samiti that manages the three districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kasaragod and Udupi has released its Annual Kambala Timetable for 2015. Here is the list of the Kambala festival along with the dates and the places where it will be observed.

  • 3rd January, 2015 (Sunday) – Adve – Nandikoor – Near Padubidre – Udupi Taluk & Dist
  • 10th January, 2015 (Saturday) – Miyyar Near Karkala – Udupi Dist
  • 17th January, 2015 (Saturday) – Moodubidre – Dakshina Kannada Dist
  • 24th January, 2015 (Saturday) – Aikala Bava – Near Kinnigoly – Dakshina Kannada
  • 31st January, 2015 (Saturday) – Katapaday Beedu – Near Udupi & Udupi dist
  • 1st February, 2015 (Sunday) – Panapila – Nandottu – Mangalore Taluk
  • 7th February, 2015 (Saturday) – Pilikula Nisargadhama – Near Vamanjoor – Mangalore Taluk
  • 8th February, 2015 (Sunday) – Kellaputtige – Near Belvai – Mangalore Taluk
  • 14th February, 2015 (Saturday) – Eedu – Near Bajagoli – Karkala Taluk
  • 21st February, 2015 (Saturday) – Altaru Barkur Near Brahmavar – Udupi Dist
  • 22nd February, 2015 (Sunday) – Vamanjur Tiruvail – Mangalore Taluk
  • 28th February, 2015 (Saturday) – Kakyapadavu – Bantwala Taluk – Dakshina Kannada
  • 8th March, 2015 (Sunday) – Puttoor – Puttoor Taluk – Dakshina Kannada
  • 15th March, 2015 (Sunday) – Jappina mogaru – Near Mangalore
  • 21st March, 2015 (Saturday) – Uppinangady – Puttoor Taluk
  • 28th March, 2015 (Saturday) – Talapady – Panjala – Mangalore – Kasaragod Road

Makara Shankranti

Makara Shankranti is the harvest festival, a new year and the festival of rejoicing and celebrations embracing the entire household friends and neighbors, the servants and the poor, the cows, and then all other living creatures symbolizes universal love and kindness.

Astronomical Significance

The astronomical significance of the festival is that it marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the sun’s movement northward for a six-month period. Makar Sankranti refers to the event of the sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). The Sanskrit term “Shankramana” means “to begin to move”. It usually falls on the 14th or 15th of January every year.

The six-month period during which the sun travels northwards is highly favourable to them in their march towards the goal of life. The Devas and Rishis, Paramahamsa Sannyasins roam about freely during this period, dispelling gloom from the hearts of all.

It is said that soul departed during this period will reach Heaven or Vaikunta (Lord Vishnu’s abode). When the renowned Bhishma, the grandfather of the Pandavas, was fatally wounded during the war of the Mahabharata, he waited on his deathbed of nails for the onset of this season, at passed away on Vaikunta Ekadasi .

The festival is generally celebrated for 4 days

Bhogi Festival

This day marks first day of the Shankranti festival and the last day of Margashirsha month. It is the time when all the old worn out, dirty unwanted things in the house are discarded. On this day, all the old wood and unwanted things are symbolically burnt as in a bonfire. Homes are cleaned and white-washed.

The family members have a Abhynjana Snana (oil bath) at dawn and wear new clothes. They will decorate the front porches of the houses with beautiful and colourful Rangolis (decoration drawings made using in rice flour/color powder on the floor). In the centre of the rangolis, the “Gugilu” a small dung balls, decorated with flowers are placed.

The actual Shankranti day, people decorate their porches with Rangolis. They buy new vessel or pot and prepare Sweet Pongal , a special savoury made of rice, dal and jaggery. In Karnataka, a special snack called the “Shankranti Yellu” is made chunks of jaggery, roast besan dal, ground nuts, till seeds and copra.

There are other varieties of food like chitra anna, payasa, vade, dishes made of avarekai, pumpkin and sweet potato etc made on this day. On this day in villages people rejoice this festival with their new harvest like sugarcane, groundnut, paddy, turmeric, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, till seeds, and other food grains.

They pile the food grains and offer puja to the Gods. In the evenings, young girls share the Yellu and sugarcane with their near and dear ones. This custom is called “Yellu Beeruva Habba”.

Kanu Festival

The third day of Pongal is dedicated to cattle. People offer prayers to the bulls, cows and other farm animals as they not only are sacred but bulls help the farmers in ploughing and Cows give nourishing milk, cow dung is used as fuels in villages.

On the thanks giving festival for cows, the animals are decorated with colourfull paper, bells and strings, their horns and hoves are painted with bright colours.

They are raced on fire in the olden days to mark the festival of Shankranti and Kany Habba. (This is avoided as cruelty to animals but scientifically, in olden days, this proved to be an effective away to keep the animals away from flies and insects). It is called the Maatu Pongal for Tamilians.

Makara Shankranti

Kaanum Pongal

On fourth day people generally visit each other, go on picnics and spread festivities.

This day is more celebrated among Tamilians and Telugu people.

Shankranti in Other States

In Maharashtra and in North India, devotees of the Lord attach great importance to Makara Shankranti. It is the season chosen by the Guru for bestowing his Grace on the disciple. In the South, too, it should be noted that it was about this time that Mahadeva favoured several of the Rishis by blessing them with His beatific vision.

Shankranti Message

When we celebrate the Shankranti or Pongal in this manner, our sense of value changes. We begin to understand that our real wealth is the goodwill and friendship of our relatives, friends, neighbors and our environment. Our wealth is the land on which our food grows. We should have greater love and respect for them and for all living beings.

Be charitable. Be generous. Spread Peace, Love and Harmony. This is the essence of Pongal or Shankranti festival.

Mysore Dasara Walking Tour

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if we could walk through the pages of Mysore’s rich cultural heritage? Well now a walk through Mysore city with a knowledgeable guide is possible for a small fee. Read on to discover the walk tour during divine celebration of the navaratris in Mysore.

The Splendour of Mysore Dasara

The Mysore Dasara, also called the Nadahabba is a ten day celebration that took shape in the 15th century. Most of the rituals and practices still observed during Dasara are remnants of a culture that has sustained the passing of five centuries.

The Wodeyars of Mysore celebrated the Dasara with great pomp, splendour and circumstance. The festivities include the ten day illumination of the Mysore Palace. The breath-taking view of the illuminated silhouette against the pitch dark night sky is indeed a wondrous sight to behold.

The festivities conclude on Vijaydashami with the Jumboo Savari or the procession on the streets of Mysore. The Goddess Chamundeshwari placed in the golden Howdah is carried atop an elephant in a colourful procession. While the procession is the most important part of the Dasara celebrations there are numerous events through the ten days that are just as mesmerizing to witness.

Royal Mysore Walks: Dressed Walking Tours

Wish to take a walk through the pages of Mysore’s rich cultural heritage and history? Follow the man in the durbar attire!

The guides at Royal Mysore Walks believe in giving the patrons a true Royal experience. The Kings of erstwhile Mysore kingdom would invite guests to a private durbar during the Dasara celebrations for intellectual conversations. The private durbar tradition has been continued by the Mysore Royal family till date.

When invited to the Durbar, guests wore a traditional long black jacket with a Nehru collar, a sash draped over the shoulder, white trousers, Mysore Peta and a walking stick that completed the attire. The guide is always dressed in the traditional durbar attire making the walk an immersive experience.

The walk lasts about two hours and stops at all the major tourist attractions around the Palace starting at the Town Hall. Between the guides’ knowledge and the spruced up splendour of Mysore it is easy to find oneself transported back in time on these walks. If you want to go on one of the walks, here are some quick facts.

Mysore Dasara Walking Tour

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE DASARA ROYAL WALK

The Dasara Royal Walk

  • Time: 7:00 AM every morning
  • Starting point: the Town Hall
  • Cost: RS. 700 per person
  • Duration: Two Hours

The Dasara Night Walk

For patrons who find the early morning inconvenient

  • Time: 6:45 PM everyday
  • Starting point: the Town Hall
  • Cost: RS. 700 per person
  • Duration: Two Hours

The Dasara Night Jeep Tour

For patrons who do not wish to walk through the city, the jeep tour is a more exhaustive tour covering more locations and sights spread over three hours.

Dates: Everyday
Time: 6:45 PM
Cost: RS. 1,500 per person

History of Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara is the Nada habba or state festival of Karnataka. Often called Navaratri, it is a 10-day festival with the last day being Vijayadashami. According to a legend, Vijayadashami denotes the victory of truth over evil. For, it was the day the Hindu Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura.

Mahishasurana Ooru and Dasara

Mahishasura is the asura (demon) from whom the name Mysore has been derived. The word Mysore is a corrupted version of “mysooru” derived from the word “mahishur” or “Mahishasurana Ooru”, meaning the town of Mahishasura in Kannada. Mysore has been associated with the puranic story found in the Devi Bhagavatha.

According to the story, Mysore was ruled by Mahishasura, a buffalo-headed monster. In response to the prayers of the gods and goddesses, the Goddess Parvathi, took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill near Mysore. Hence the hill and the city have the names Chamundi Hill and Mysore respectively. After killing the monster, the Goddess stayed on top of the hill.

The famous 10-day long Dasara of Mysore is in honour of the Goddess.

The History of Mysore Dasara Festival

The city of Mysore has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival. According to historians, the Dasara festivities began with the Vijayanagar kings in the 15th century.

Abdur Razzaq, a Persian ambassador, reports the observance of Dasara (originally Mahanavami) in Vijayanagara during his stay in India, in his book Matla-us-Sadain wa Majma-ul-Bahrain (The Rise of the Two auspicious constellations and the Confluence of the Two Oceans). This is a major work which contains an overview of the history of the region from 1304 to 1470.

History of Mysore Dasara

Wodeyars of Mysore and Dasara

After the fall of the Vijayanagar kingdom, the Wodeyars of Mysore continued the Dasara Festival, initially by Raja Wodeyar I (1578-1617 AD) in the year 1610 at Srirangapatna.

The festivities began with the Wodeyar royal couple performing a special puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the temple located on top of the Chamundi Hill at Mysore. It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, in 1805, when the tradition of having a special durbar (royal assembly) in the Mysore Palace during Dasara was started.

The special durbar was attended by members of the royal family, important guests, officials and the masses. This tradition has continued even now with the current scion of the Wodeyar family holding a private durbar during Dasara.

The History of Dasara Exhibition

The famed Mysore exhibition held during the Dasara was started by the Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar X, in 1880, with the intention of introducing up-to-date innovations and developments to the people of Mysore.

The task of holding the exhibition is now entrusted to the Karnataka Exhibition Authority, which was constituted in 1981 to organize the exhibition. The task of conducting the Dasara exhibition was entirely entrusted to Karnataka Exhibition Authority from 1987.

Dasara Dolls: Where to buy and how to Design Doll Arrangement?

Mysore Dasara is a 10 day festival of colors and joys being celebrated for the victory of goddess Chamundeshwari over the demon Mahishasura. Nadahabba Dasara festival takes you back to the history of Vijayanagara Kings and royalty.

The city Mysore is well known around the globe for its Dasara celebration. During Dasara the Mysore palace glows with 100,000 light bulbs in the evening, Dasara procession known as “Jamboo Sawari” is held on the streets of Mysore where a decorated elephant carries goddess Chamundeshwari’s Mantapa.

Dasara dolls: the tradition

When it comes to Dasara celebrations Dasara Dolls can never be forgotten. Dasara derives it’s another name “Bombe Habba” in cause of Dasara dolls and arrangements. Almost every household in and around Mysore celebrate this day, where dolls are arranged in themes. Young girls are invited and are given “Gombe Bagina”, a gift box which contains sweets, toys and a pair of wooden dolls. Intention behind the gift is that they can continue the tradition when they grow up, get married and move to a new home.

The Dasara doll arrangement

Doll arrangement is solely dependent on creativity. Usually women folk create a theme for the arrangement or a story to be told through doll arrangement. Dolls displayed are the ones which are collected over the years from various places. There are no hard and fast rules for the doll arrangements but some of common patterns are:

  • The dolls can be a combination of anything like older dolls given by mother or mother-in-law, clay or silver toys.
  • Every arrangement has tiered platforms covered with a white sheet or any silk sari.
  • Usually goddess Durga’s or Chamundeshwari’s idol is made the center of attraction of the arrangement.
  • Traditional dark colored Raja-Rani Toys are kept on the middle tier, this pair of toy is a part of every year’s doll arrangement.
  • The top most platform of the arrangement has the idol of the god who is been worshipped in the respective house.
  • The next respective platforms depict stories like Dashavatara, Seeta Vanavasa etc.
  • Some of the platforms have dolls which show day to day activities of man and woman.
  • The last and the final tier usually has garden themes like wild life sanctuary, farmer ploughing his land, animals grazing.
  • These days some of the households have a tier of dolls to educate visitors on society concerns like environment protection, women empowerment, child education and health.

Again, there are no should and must ways to decorate your house with dolls in Dasara. Women folks of the house use their imagination and creativity to create a beautiful story through these dolls.  Dolls are maintained and cared for decades and passed on to the successive generations.

Dasara Dolls: Where to buy and how to Design Doll Arrangement?

Where to buy Dasara dolls?

Once the Dasara festival starts getting closer and closer, dolls start appearing on every street corner of the city. Bangalore and Mysore city conducts many exhibitions of glamorous dolls which are affordable and hence buyers do not feel the pinch of buying costly dolls.

Dolls can be made up of wood, hard plastic, paper, marble or Plaster of Paris. Dolls can also be china dolls, wax dolls or paper mache dolls.

Wooden dolls: Channapatna is the best place to purchase wooden toys if travelling is not a concern. Channapatna is 6o kilometers away from Bangalore. Wooden dolls are easily available in Bangalore too. There are many wooden and clay toy manufactures in and around Mysore as well.

Hard plastic dolls: Major shopping areas of Bangalore like GandhiBazar, Chickpet, Jayanagar have shops selling hard plastic dolls with price range between Rs.100 to Rs 1000.

Plaster of Paris: Plaster of Paris dolls come in various sizes. They range from little tiny toys to large statues. Small Plaster of Paris dolls can be found in any gift shops in major parts of the state.

Marble Dolls: Marble dolls are the costliest one and require lot of care and attention. Chickpet, Basavanagudi, J.P Nagar and Malleshwaram areas in Bangalore have some of the best marble dealers with beautiful idols. The starting price range for a small marble statue is between Rs.7000 to Rs.8000.

If you are in Mysore there are many stores in the city where you can buy all kinds of dolls. An example would be Ramsons one of the largest handicraft shop in the city. The store is right in front of Mysore Zoo.

The days where every household having doll arrangement may be long gone, but Mysore and Bangalore city has not forgotten its tradition. Dasara is the time where old dolls are taken out from attics, cleaned, dusted and beautifully displayed. Doll arrangement is an occasion of wonder and happiness to both youngsters and adults with every doll narrating its own different story.

Naga Panchami

Panchami habba or Festival  is one of the auspicious day for Hindu women. India, the land of  cobra, and snake charmers as it is famous for, has  special reverence to the snakes. The serpents are associated with many Gods in the Hindu mythology.

Naga (snake) Panchami is the 5th day of the Shravana month of the Hindu calendar. On this day sculpt images or idols of snakes are made and worshipped through the country. In South India figures of snakes are drawn with red sandalwood paste on wooden boards, clay images are made in yellow and black colour. Off late people buy Snake Gods made of silver , gold or Pancha Loha(combination of 5 metals preffered specially of worship).

People visit the Naga temple or “Ant hill” is worshipped with reference that snakes lived in Ant hills. People decorate the ant hill  with vermilon, turmeric, flowers and fruits. They prepare special sweets and savouries out of  till seeds, pop corn from jawar etc. They offer milk and honey. Some also perform Puja to actual cobra, considering it as the sacred and the favourite of Lord Shiva.

Naga Panchami

There is also special significance of this festival that the brothers invite sisters and offer them gifts and presents, enhancing the bonds between the families. This is similar to “Raksha Bandhan” which comes in the same season.

Naga Panchami is held to honour the Serpent God. But due to the festive rituals, people tend to catch snakes in the wild and torture the poor creatures.  They force them to drink milk, their fangs are forcible taken out to join the rituals of the day. Festival goes can celebrate and enjoy themselves without torturing snakes.

Karaga Festival – A Demonstration of the Rich Cultural and Religious Heritage of Karnataka

Karaga is one of the oldest and widely celebrated festivals of Karnataka. Karaga festival depicts the rich cultural and religious heritage of Karnataka. It is celebrated in honour of the Goddess Shakti. The festival is held at the famous Dharmarayaswamy temple in Bangalore. The festival starts on the full moon day of Chaitra that falls in March/April. The festival derives its name from an earthen pot in which the Goddess Shakti is invoked. The celebrations last for 9 days, starting from the full moon day.

The highlight of the festival is a grand procession that is held in honour of Goddess Shakti on the full moon night.

The History of Karaga Festival

The celebration of Karaga festival in Karnataka can be traced back to over five centuries. It is believed that the festival originated in the Tigala community, a Tamil-speaking community of gardeners in Southern Karnataka. The Tigala community has been carrying forward the tradition of the festival for several centuries.

The origin of the Tigala community is not clear. Members of this community call themselves Vanihikula Kshatriyas. Some members claim that they are descendents of Veerakumars, the members of a mythological army who had helped Draupadi in her fight against a demon. Some believe that the origin of the community can be traced back to the lions of Angirasa, the sage whose offsprings founded most of the dynasties that had ruled over South India. Some others believe that the Tigalas are descendents of Agani, the Goddess of fire as per the Hindu mythology.

According to Puranas (the sacred scriptures of Hinduism), Draupadi is considered to be the embodiment of an ideal woman. The Tigalas worship Adishakti Draupadi as their community deity. The festival is celebrated in honour of Draupadi

Legend associated with Karaga festival

Legend has it that in the last part of Mahabharat, a glimpse of hell was revealed to the Pandavas. At that time one demon called Tripurasura was still alive. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, decided to kill the demon. She took the form of Shakti devi and gathered a large army of soldiers called the Veerakumaras. After a huge fight the demon was defeated. The soldiers asked Draupadi to stay back with them. Draupadi could not keep their request, but she promised them that she would visit them every year during the first full moon of the first month of the Hindu calendar.

The Tigalas believe that they are the descendants of the Veerakumaras and they welcome Draupadi on this date every year by observing the festival.

Preparation and rituals of the Karaga Festival

The preparations for the Karaga festival begin a fortnight before the full moon night of Chaitra with the hoisting of the temple flag on the banks of the Sampangi tank, amidst the chanting of mantras. Draupadi is invoked on the sixth day through a special puja. On the seventh day the non-sanctified Karaga or hasi Karaga is brought from a salt water pond nearby, as per the tradition.

The Veerakumaras are selected from the Tigala community three days prior to the festival. The chosen few are given deeksha at the temple and they remain pure and chaste till the festival gets over. The ninth day is reserved for a fire-walking ritual. On this day the temple Veerakumaras wear dhotis and carry swords in their hands. They dance over live charcoals and in that frenzy they hit their bare chests with the blades of the swords. They then start running over the charcoals. As per belief, this is the moment when the Karaga places itself automatically on the head on the carrier, who remains in seclusion. The area surrounding the temple is occupied by 500 beautifully decorated chariots that arrive from temples from all over the city for the celebration of the festival.

The Karaga bearer undergoes rigorous ritual before he carries the pot symbolizing the goddess of power. He leaves home and arrives at the temple to lead a life of seclusion before the festival. His wife at home assumes the role of a widow and does not see him or the procession. She hands over her mangal-sutra and bangles to her husband. Once the festival is over, the couple is remarried. The Karaga bearer remains confined to the temple premises and undertakes several preparatory rituals. He goes on a diet of milk and fruits and observes penance till the festival is over.

Karaga Festival – A Demonstration of the Rich Cultural and Religious Heritage of Karnataka

Celebration of the Karaga Festival

The Karaga festival is celebrated with some spectacular rituals and an amazing procession. The Karaga is an earthen pot that supports a floral pyramid and a small figure of the goddess with a small silver umbrella on top of that. The Karaga is carried on their head without touching it.

The exact contents of the pot are a mystery till date, but it is believed that the pot contains items such as lemon, vermillion, tamarind, etc. The Karaga carrier wears a woman’s attire in saffron hues and puts vermillion on his forehead. He wears bangles and mangal-sutra too. He then places the Karaga on his head and the procession starts from the Dharmarayaswamy temple around midnight.

The carrier of Karaga is surrounded by hundreds of turbaned, bare-chested and dhoti-clad Veerakumaras carrying uncovered swords. The swords are significant for the carrier of the Karaga because if he loses his balances and allows the Karaga to fall, the Veerakumaras accompanying him are supposed stab him with the swords. However, till date such a misfortune has never befallen anyone.

The procession passes through many lanes and bylanes of the city and reaches the temple in the early hours of the next day. It is a wonder to see the Karaga carrier passing through the crowd of people with the Karaga remaining undisturbed on his head.

Before the procession returns to the temple, it halts at the Dargah-e-Sharif of Hazrat Tawkal Mastan, a Muslim saint of the 18th century. As per legend, the saint was a good friend of a Hindu priest. The saint had wished on his death bed that the Karaga halt at his dargah or mausoleum after leaving the temple. This tradition has been kept alive by the Tigala community even after 300 years of the saint’s death. The spectacular procession is accompanied by the sound of drum beats and display of sword plays. Several devotees carry pots decorated with flowers on their heads in order to test the strength of their character.

After the procession returns to the temple, devotees end the festivities by splashing turmeric water on each other. On the next day the Karaga is immersed in the salt water pond from which it was brought. The Karaga carrier ends his fast then.

Different forms of Karaga Festival

The Karaga festival is celebrated throughout Karnataka, but with small variations in rituals and traditions. For example, in Madikeri four Karagas, known as shakti devtas, from four prominent Mariyamma temples take part in the festival. The festival is celebrated for 10 days and concludes on the Vijayadashami day. In Mysore the celebration of the festival first began in 1924 and is celebrated for 4 days.

Ugadi – The Kannada New Year

The people of Karnataka consider Ugadi to be an auspicious time for commencing new ventures. This is the time when New Year’s Day is also celebrated in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as Gudipadawa.

Origin of Ugadi

The term “Ugadi” has its origin in the Sanskrit word “Yugadi”, that means ‘starting of a new Yuga or period’. This traditional festival is usually celebrated in the second half of March or in early April. People from all over Karnataka celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm and gaiety.

Legend Associated with Ugadi

The popular legend associated with the festival is that the Lord Brahma started creation of the vast universe on the auspicious day of Ugadi or Chaitra suddha padhyami.

Lord Brahma created the days, weeks, months and years in order to count time and then created all other elements present in the universe.

Significance of Ugadi

Ugadi marks a change in the lunar orbit as well as the beginning of the new Hindu lunar calendar. It also heralds the advent of spring. Mother Nature awakes from her deep slumber to give birth to new plants and cover earth in a blanket of green.

As spring accompanies new life on earth, this festival of New Year accompanies a feeling of joy, growth and prosperity. The nine day long spring festival of Vasanta Navratri begins on this day and concludes on Ramnavami.

Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. The most important thing in the festival is Panchanga Shravanam – hearing of the Panchanga.

The Panchanga Shravanam is done at the temples by the priests. Before reading out the annual forecasts as predicted in the Panchanga, the officiating priest reminds the participants of the creator – Brahma, and the span of creation of the universe.

The reading of the Panchanga then involves reading of other Tidhis (wealth and prosperity) during the year and ends with h a forecast for various sectors of the social life and the strengths and effects of various constellations and their transitions.

The scriptures state that the benefits reaped by the listener as well as the reader, are equivalent to having a dip in the holy river Ganges. The individuals hearing the Panchanga should respectfully ‘thank’ the reader and offer him new clothes and seek his blessings.

Preparations for Ugadi

Preparations for the festival start a week in advance. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and washed. People buy new clothes for themselves and their family members to enjoy the spirit of Ugadi. They also purchase several other things needed for the festival.

On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath. The bath is supposedly to be taken after massaging the entire using sesame oil.

Ugadi – The Kannada New Year

Celebrations of Ugadi

Ugadi is celebrated by decorating the temples with fresh flowers and fresh mango leaves. Among the flowers mainly the sweet smelling jasmine is used for the decorations. Most people also decorate their homes and puja rooms with flowers and mango leaves. There is an interesting legend behind the practice of decorating with mango leaves.

The legend goes that Subramanya and Ganesha, the sons of Lord Shiva and Parvati loved eating mangoes. Kartik urged people to tie fresh leaves of mango tree to the doorway in order to indicate a good yields.

All the members of the family gather and pray together and seek blessings from the Almighty during Ugadi celebrations. Food, as is the normal trend in all festivals, occupies an important place in this festival too. Special dishes are prepared and enjoyed by the people to mark the festival.

The next step is offer prayers to Sun, before accepting Vepapoota Pachadi (Neem Flower Pickle) on an empty stomach. Entrance of the houses are decorated with fresh mango leaves. It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods.

People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the new year.

Rituals Followed On Ugadi

The festival is wrapped in traditions. The ceremonial day starts early, with the elderly ladies of the family getting up at around 4.30 a.m. while chanting mantras.  Several rituals are followed during the day to mark the celebration. The common rituals are:

  • Reflection in Ghee: Watching one’s reflection in a bowl of molten ghee.
  • Enne (Oil) Shastra: Elderly women of the family applying kumkum to the younger members and performing arathi.
  • Abhyang: Taking of oil bath by all members of the family.
  • New Dresses: Wearing of new clothes by all family members.
  • Abhyang for Gods: Giving oil bath to the idols of Gods.
  • Offering flowers: Offering flowers of neem, mango and tamarind to the Gods.
  • Offering Puja: Puja is offered following the steps of Abhisheka, Alankara, Naivedya and Mangalarathi.
  • Panchanga Pooje: After worshipping God, Panchanga for the new Samvathsara or Year is worshipped.
  • Gudi or Indra Dhwaja Pooje: Indra Dhwaja Pooje is done next.
  • Front door decoration: Decorating the front door with Kemmannu (red earth), Rangoli and Mango leaves. Sometimes neem leaves are also used.
  • Bevu Bella: Eating of jaggery  and neem together in this festival to mark the presence of sweet and sour events in life’s journey.
  • Oota: Offering meals to God and then eating Oota or meals as Prasada.
  • Visiting temples: Visiting temples and seeking blessings of the Almighty.

Cuisine for Ugadi

The main item prepared during the festival of is Bevu Bella. It is actually a paste made from jaggery, neem buds, tamarind juice and raw mango. All the ingredients are ground together to make a fine paste. The significance of this item is that it denotes all the tastes of life.

The bitter, sweet and sour tastes each remind us the basic fact that life is a mixture of happy and sad events and we must remain ready to accept everything in life.

During Ugadi festival, all members of the family taste this paste and try to remain conscious of the fact that everything in life is temporary.

Apart from Bevu Bella, several other dishes are also prepared to celebrate the festival. Among the famous dishes cooked in Karnataka during this occasion are puliogure and holige (obbattu).

In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as pulihora, bobbatlu and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called puliogure and holige.

Groundnut Festival

Kadalekai Parishe, the annual groundnut fair is held on the last Monday of Karthika Masa (month in Hindu calendar) near Dodda Ganesha, temple, near the Bull Temple at Basavanagudi in Bangalore.  The fair starts from the previous day with people thronging to the stalls selling buying variety of groundnuts.  The day is a full moon day with vendors from our state and the neighboring states bring their first harvest to the market.

A  legend behind the Kadlekai Parishe is that in olden days farmers were aghast to learn that their crop was being devoured in the night by some, one of the farmers wanted to investigate and on Kaarthika Maasa night which was pitch dark, he found out that the culprit was none other than Lord Shiva’s abode Nandi or Basava. Since then farmers collectively pledged their first crop to the Lord Basava.

Another legend founder of Bangalore Kempe Gowda had come to the temple and learnt about the story. He had prayed for the welfare of the farmers at the temple, there he had a vision of a treasure which he acquired later was used to build a temple based on the architecture of Hampi of Vijayanagar empire. Incidentally, the big Bull Temple or the Basava Temple is on the hillock near Bugle Rock in Basavanagudi (Temple of Basava).

Groundnut Festival

Farmers from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and locals offer their first crop to the Lord Basava. During this time, every year, 100,000 lamps are lit at the Bull temple. This is accompanied by the annual fair for groundnuts. The entire Bull Temple Road will host the festive look during this time. The road is blocked from Bugle Rock to Ramakrishna Mutt.

The groundnut lovers find a variety of groundnuts from  Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Kolar, Doddaballapur, Ramanagara and few areas of Telengana in Andhra Pradesh. The ground nuts are spiced, fried, salted, boiled, sugar coated, roasted. There are not just groundnut vendors but a whole lots of funfair. There are many toys for children and short buys and eats. Thus the garden city with its turbulent life and lifestyle has been struggling to keep some of the traditions like  Kadlekai (groundnut) parishe (fair).

Ayudha Pooja

Navaratri is one of the most colorful, dutiful and longest festival observed by Hindus in India. A nine day festival Navaratri (Nava means nine, Ratri means night) is also called as Dasara/Dushhera which usually falls some time between last week of September and first week of October. The dates are set according to the Hindu calender.

Navarathri means ‘nine nights’. What does the nine signify? There are nine grahas (planets. The human has nine openings. If a deep inquiry is made, it will be found that mankind is dependent on the planets (grahas). Although astrologers speak about nine planets, in reality, there are only two ‘planets’ that matter. They are raaga (attachment) and dwesha (hatred).

In the worship of the deities during Navarathri, every day, one of them should be worshiped, not only externally but with one’s heart and soul. Therefore, the Navarathri festival is observed, by contemplating on God for ten days, cleansing one’s self of all impurities, to experience the divinity within.

The penultimate day of the festival is dedicated to what is termed Aayudha Puja. The Hindus, on this day, Worship of arms, ammunitions, weapons, hardware and the software. In substance the weapons to be worshiped are the divine powers in man. When the divine is worshiped in this way, one is bound to progress materially and spiritually.

According to Indian Mythology, after the slaying of Mahishasura and other terrorists by Chamundeswari, there was no more use for her weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshiped. This Ayudha puja is being celebrated since time immemorial.

Ayudha Pooja

The importance of Ayudha Puja on this occasion may also be due to the fact that on the Vijayadashami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Bani tree in order to lead a life in disguise for the promised period of exile. It is believed that one who begins or renovates his learning to work on the tenth day-Vijayadashami will secure a grand success as Partha did in Kurukshetra warfare.

Be it the plough, be it a vegetable cutter or be it Soorya Kiran Air Craft, the Ayudha Puja is a worship of whatever implements one may use in day-to-day life. On the preceding evening, it is traditional to place these implements on an altar to the Divine. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses each day, it will help one to see one’s work as an offering to God.

In India it is customary for one to prostrate before the tools one will use before starting one’s work each day; this is an expression of gratitude to God for granting us the tools to fulfill our duties.

Although the nine day festival is observed in homes, offices, workshops and temples, the Ayudha pooja is a widely visible festival as it is manifested on the streets and corridors of buildings. All types of Vehicles including the bicycles will be out in the streets after grand water wash and decorated with flowers and frills. Its a treat to watch drivers going for a jolly ride on their trucks, cars, vans, coaches playing their favorite music, a bit loudly!

Dasara Doll Festival – Significance and History

Navaratri is a major festival of the Hindus that is celebrated in various styles all over the country every year. Different states of the country have different names and customs for celebrating this festival. In the southern part of India the festival of Navaratri is celebrated with a very interesting and unique tradition called Bombe Habba or Golu or Kolu (Kannada) or Bommala Koluvu (Telugu) or Bommai Kolu (Tamil) or simply Dasara dolls. This tradition involves a toy festival that is celebrated by families across Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The festival is celebrated for 10 days and culminates on the day of Vijayadashami or Dasara, the day when Goddess Durga won the battle against the demons or asuras after fighting for 9 days. In Karnataka the festival is also known as Dasara Doll Festival.

The Dasara Doll Festival of Karnataka

The Dasara doll festival is celebrated in Karnataka through an exhibition of various dolls and figurines arranged as per custom. The dolls are arranged and exhibited on a stepped platform having an odd number of steps or tiers (usually 7, 9 or 11) and usually covered with a white or light color cloth. Many households use nine steps for the exhibition of dolls to signify the nine nights of Navaratri. The dolls are ritually worshipped during the celebrations.

The main dolls of the festival are a pair depicting a husband and a wife. They are referred to as Pattada Gombe or Pattath bommaikal. This set of main dolls is handed over to a daughter by her parents during her marriage ceremony. They are presented to the new bride to start her own family and continue with the tradition of the festival.

The Pattada Gombe pair is a set of traditional dolls made from wood. These dolls are dressed colorfully using papers or silk textiles. This main pair of dolls is always dressed in the traditional style. Tradition demands that the first step of the platform be usually reserved for miniature idols or dolls depicting gods and goddesses. Generally the idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Seeta, Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, etc. are used in this festival. It is also customary to have a few wooden dolls in the collection.

The Arrangement of Dolls on the Tiers

Every home selects an auspicious time to begin the doll festival. The dolls are arranged as per a specific order on the tiers or steps. The hierarchy starts from the Gods being placed at the top tiers and ends with mortals of earth placed at the lower tiers of the platform.

Steps 1 to 3: The first three steps are dedicated to figurines or idols of Gods and Goddesses. Different idols of various gods and goddesses are placed on these steps.

Steps 4 to 6: The next three steps are used to arrange dolls depicting demi-gods, great saints or kings and queens. Due importance is given to the Mysore kings during this festival and their miniature forms are generally seen placed on these steps.

Step 7: This step is devoted to showcasing of Hindu festivals, celebrations and occasions.

Step 8: This step is decorated with scenes from everyday life, such as a park, a shop, a vegetable vendor, etc.

Step 9: The last step usually depicts the evolution of mankind or living things.

There is no hard and fast rule to arrange the dolls. Every household generally increases or decreases the number of stairs according to the rows or tiers needed for displaying the various dolls available to them.

The History Associated with the Doll Festival

Legend has it that Goddess Durga waged war against the demon Mahishasura. In order to help her all the Gods and Goddesses gave her all their powers. As the Gods and Goddesses became powerless, they stood as statues. Durga triumphed over Mahishasura on the 10th day of the war, which is celebrated as Dashara. To pay respect to the self-sacrifice of those dieties the doll festival is observed by worshipping the Gods and Goddesses in the form of dolls. This custom is believed to be prevalent since the existence of the Vijayanagar kingdom.

Dasara Doll Festival – Significance and History

Customs Followed in the Doll Festival

Most households follow a theme for the arrangement of dolls. Some households follow a simple and traditional theme while some follow elaborate and extravagant ways of presenting their dolls. People use their creativity to showcase their collection in a unique and attractive manner. Some people depict stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata on the rows of the platform. These days, people also exhibit the dolls with modern themes like saving environment or reducing pollution, etc.

Every year people add a new set of dolls to their collection. As such, the collection increases every year in each household. The dolls are passed on from one generation to the next. As such, some families have dolls that are more than a 100 years old.

During the 10 days period people invite and visit friends and family and enjoy the unique exhibition of dolls in each family. Everyday an offering is presented to the dolls which are distributed among the family members, neighbors and guests as Prasad.

Significance of the Doll Festival celebration

Karnataka follows the doll festival in a way to be rooted to the traditions and introduce the new generation to the rich culture and mythology of the land. It is also a way to seek divine blessings and entertain the children during the Dasara festival.

The craft of traditional doll making is on diminishing by the day. Mysore becomes a land of dolls during the Dasara festival. The festival encourages keeping the craft of wooden and clay doll-making alive and allows the grown-ups to become children for a few days each year.

Dasara Across India

Dasara, also known as Vijayadasami, Dussehra, Navratri or Durgotsav, is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms, across India. The term Dussehra is derived from the Sanskrit Dasha-hara literally meaning “removal of ten”, referring to Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed asura king Ravana. Other readings state that Dasha-hara means “remover of bad fate”.

Navratri

When termed Navratri, Dasara, is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped.

The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dasara.

Navaratri celebration across India

Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. It is celebrated five times a year. They are Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, the Sharad Navaratri, and the Paush/Magha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharad Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasanta Navaratri of the Vasanta kala are the most important. The Sharad Navaratri culminates in Durga Puja and Dasara. It is a very important and major festival in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The festival is also celebrated with great zeal in North India, including Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and the northern state of Punjab. The Sharad Navaratri begins on the first day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less.

Durga Pooja

In West Bengal and in east India, Dasara is known as Durga Pooja. It is the biggest festival of the year and the last four days of Sharad Navaratri take on a particularly spectacular form.

Delicately crafted and painted life-size clay idols of the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up in temples and other places. These idols are then worshiped for five days and immersed in the river on the fifth day.

Dasara Across India

Dasara major events across the country

  • Performances of the Ramlila (a short version of the epic Ramayana) in Northern India
  • Festival and procession including the goddess Chamundeshwari on a throne mounted on elephants in the town of Mysore in the state of Karnataka
  • Blessing of household and work-related tools, such as books, computers, cooking pans and vehicles
  • Preparation of special foods, including luchi (deep fried flat bread) and alur dom (deep fried spiced potato snacks), in Bengal
  • Bonfires and fireworks
  • Painting of red tikas on people’s foreheads

People of the Hindu faith observe Dasara through special prayers and food offerings to the gods at home or in temples. They also hold outdoor fairs and large processions with wood and paper effigies of Ravana. The festivities culminate by the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil forces on the Vijayadashami day.

Famous Ganesha Temples

Few well known Ganesha temples in Bengaluru are listed below. If you are aware of any which needs to be listed here, please let us know.

Famous Ganesha Temples In Bengaluru

1. Power Ganesha

The wealthiest & politically the most sought after Ganesha in Bangalore. This is the only temple that has a diamond armour and diamond kirita (headgear), which can be seen on the festival day.

Address: Opposite Jain Temple, Jayanagar IV Block, Bangalore.
Phone: +91-80-2244-3255 / 2244-5499

2. Techie Ganesha

The temple started in 1979 attracts a lot of software professionals from HSR Layout, Airport Road, Sarjapur and Koramangala.

Address: Ganapathi Seva Smithi, KHB Colony, Koramangala Layout, Bangalore
Phone: +91-80-2553-2568

3. Dodda Ganesha

Housed on the boulder hill were the bull temple sits on the boundaries of Bugle Rock garden, this Ganesha has the distinction of being the biggest in Bangalore. A monolith of proportions 18 feet high and 16 feet wide, and by far the most visited.

History says Bangalore’s founder Kempegowda chanced on one among a heap of large boulders that had on it impressions that looked like the figure of Ganesha. He ordered his sculptors to carve an idol from this. Dodda Ganesha also goes by Satya Ganapathi and Shakthi Ganapathi.

The idol is covered in cream paint with golden lace and buttons on it. The butter coat decoration involves around 100 kg butter smeared on the idol is the most popular one.

4. Penta Ganesha

This is situated in Hanumanthnagar area. It is the seat of the five-faced Panchamukhi Ganesha, one of the 32 avatars, known as the shakti avatar whose vehicle is the lion. It is situated inside a Shiva temple. It has five steps of ten-inch lamps around Ganesha temple’s core garbhagudi and electricity is switched off during the celebrations.

Address: Panchamukhi Ganapathi Temple, 4th Main, Hanumanthnagar, Bangalore

Famous Ganesha Temples

5. Traffic Ganesha

This is about 600 years old. The rock had a face naturally looking like Ganesha. This was where Bangalore’s founder Kempegowda came and paid obeisance before hunting. During the 1950s and 1960s it became the most trusted God of Chamaraja Wodeyar, who would bring all new cars gifted to him by his western friends for his south-after lectures.

Circus companies have known to have sent their elephants and camels so they would behave and not run away.  Today people prefer to visit this temple after buying their new car or two-wheeler. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are very busy days at this temple.

Vairamudi  Brahmotsava

On April 4th 2009, Vairamudi  Brahmostava will be celebrated at Melkote. This is an annual festival which gathers more than 2 lakh devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana.  Thirunarayana Puram another name for Melkote adorns a festive grandeur on this day when the Lord adorns the legendary diamond studded crown, the Vaira Mudi.

It is believed that Lord Krishna Himself presented this crown to Cheluva Narayana. The Lord is taken in procession on the golden Garuda with His divine consorts Sridevi & Bhudevi, around the main streets of the city.

History of Vairamudi  Brahmotsava

Vairamudi, the diamond crown was stolen from Sriman Narayana, when he was asleep at his abode in the Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean), by Virochana. Virochana was the kind of demons and the son of Bhakta Prahlada. Garuda was asked by the lord’s devotees to bring back the crown. Garuda went after Virochana to the neither world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown.

According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue gem on the crest while Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.  The gem turned into a stream, called the Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw Bala Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at Brindavana.

Garuda protected the Bala Krishna from the sun by placing his wings as the shade & placed the crown on his head. The local legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented Cheluva Narayana with this crown.

Lord Cheluva Narayana is the son of Acharya Ramanuja, who was at Melkote for 12 years.  It is believed that Cheluva Narayana, was also worshipped by Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya.

Thirunarayan Puram now Melkote has the temple of Lord Narasimha which was consecrated by Prahlada.  This has been a birth place for many Vaishanvite Acharyas. There is a research center for spiritual learning and Sanskrit Academy in the sylvan setting of Melkote.

Vairamudi  Brahmotsava

Vairamudi Brahmotsava Celebrations

Large number of devotees throng Mandya district, on the previous night to witness the Procession of the Lord.  The whole town of Mandya prepares for the event.

The preparation for the Brahmotsava starts well before 2 weeks. Actual celebrations take place for 13 days. Garudotsava is celebrated a day before the Brahmotsava at Melkote. The district administration of Mandhya  makes rigorous arrangements for bringing the Vairamudi crown from Mandya treasury to the temple amidst stringent security measures.

It is believed that the crown must not be exposed to daylight.  Hence it will be placed in a special casket. Under vigilance of Mandhya police it arrives at the boundaries of the town. It is from here taken upto the temple with honors in a special palanquin. It reaches the temple by evening.

The crown is placed in front of sanctum of Sri Acharya Ramanuja and the head priest places the Vaira Mudi and fits it to the statue of the Lord Cheluva Narayana.  It is tradition that even the head priest should not look at the Vaira Mudi in naked eyes till it is fitted to the Lord. Hence the priest covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.

This takes place in the night and then the Lord and his consorts are traditionally decorated and procession continues to the dawn of the next day. The quiet town of Melukote comes to life with the grandeur and majesty of the procession. Rajamudi, another crown studded with precious stones is adorned on the Lord on the next day of the Brahmotsava.

During the 13 day celebration, Kalyanotsava, Nagavalli Mahotsava will be held in the Holy Kalyani, followed by Maharatotsava.

Vairamudi Highlights

Vairamudi Brahmotsava is one of the most important festivals for Sri Vaishnavas. The others are the Garudotsava at Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu), Kotharotsava at Srirangam and Brahmotsava at Tirupati(both the places are in Andhra Pradesh).

The Mandya District Administration makes elaborate arrangements for the annual festival, as this is one of the major religious events in South India. Special transport services are making in wake of the celebration to Mandya and Mysore by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation.

There are not many food outlets at Melukote, one should pack their food and water for this trip. The weather at this time of the year will be very hot. Do prepare for the huge crowd and commotion during the Vairamudi festival.

Ganesha Shlokas

108 Names of Lord Ganesha and the meanings

  1. Akhurath: One who has mouse as his charioteer
  2. Alampata : Ever eternal lord
  3. Amit : Incomparable lord
  4. Anantachidrupamayam: Infinite and consciousness personified
  5. Avaneesh: Lord of the whole world
  6. Avighna: Remover of obstacles
  7. Balaganapati: Beloved and lovable child
  8. Bhalchandra: Moon-crested lord
  9. Bheema: Huge and Gigantic
  10. Bhupati: Lord of the gods
  11. Bhuvanpati: God of the gods
  12. Buddhinath: God of wisdom
  13. Budhipriya: Knowledge bestower
  14. Bhudhividhata: God of knowledge
  15. Chaturbhuj: One who has four arms
  16. Devadeva: Lord of all lords
  17. Devantakanashakarin: Destroyer of evils and asuras
  18. Devarata: One who accepts all gods
  19. Devendrashika: Protector of all gods
  20. Dharmik: One who gives charity
  21. Dhoomravarna: Smoke-Hued lord
  22. Durja: Invincible lord
  23. Dvaimatura: One who has two mothers
  24. Ekaakshara: He of the single syllable
  25. Ekadanta: Single-Tusked lord
  26. Ekadrishta: Single-Tusked lord
  27. Eshanputra: Lord Shiva’s son
  28. Gadadhara: One who has the mace as his weapon
  29. Gajakarna: One who has eyes like an elephant
  30. Gajanana: Elephant-Faced lord
  31. Gajananeti: Elephant-Faced lord
  32. Gajavakra: Trunk of the elephant
  33. Gajavaktra: One who has mouth like an elephant
  34. Ganadhakshya: Lord of all Ganas (Gods)
  35. Ganadhyakshina: Leader of all the celestial bodies
  36. Ganapati: Lord of all Ganas (Gods)
  37. Gaurisuta: The son of Gauri (Parvati)
  38. Gunina: One who is the master of all virtues
  39. Haridra: One who is golden coloured
  40. Heramba: Mother’s Beloved son
  41. Kapila: Yellowish-Brown coloured
  42. Kaveesha: Master of poets
  43. Krti: Lord of music
  44. Kripalu: Merciful lord
  45. Krishapingaksha: Yellowish-Brown eyed
  46. Kshamakaram: The place of forgiveness
  47. Kshipra: One who is easy to appease
  48. Lambakarna: Large-Eared lords
  49. Lambodara: The huge bellied lord
  50. Mahabala: Enormously strong lord
  51. Mahaganpati: Omnipotent and supreme lord
  52. Maheshwaram: Lord of the universe
  53. Mangalamurti: All auspicious lord
  54. Manomay: Winner of hearts
  55. Mrityunjaya: Conqueror of death
  56. Mundakarama: Abode of happiness
  57. Muktidaya: Bestower of eternal bliss
  58. Mushikvahana: One who has mouse as charioteer
  59. Nadapratithishta: One who appreciates and loves music
  60. Namasthetu: Vanquisher of all evils and vices and sins
  61. Nandana: Lord Shiva’s son
  62. Nideeshwaram: Giver of wealth and treasures
  63. Omkara: One who has the form of OM
  64. Pitambara: One who has yellow-colored
  65. Pramoda: Lord of all abodes
  66. Prathameshwara: First among all
  67. Purush: The omnipotent personality
  68. Rakta: One who has red-colored
  69. Rudrapriya: Beloved of lord Shiva
  70. Sarvadevatman: Acceptor of all celestial offerings
  71. Sarvasiddanta: Bestower of skills and wisdom
  72. Sarvatman: Protector of the universe
  73. Shambhavi: The son of Parvati
  74. Shashivarnam: One who has a moon like complexion
  75. Shoorpakarna: Large-eared Lord
  76. Shuban: All auspicious lord
  77. Shubhagunakanan: One who is the master of all virtues
  78. Shweta: One who is as pure as the white colour
  79. Siddhidhata: Bestower of success and accomplishments
  80. Siddhipriya: Bestower of wishes and boons
  81. Siddhivinayak: Bestower of success
  82. Skandapurvaja: Elder brother of Skanda (Lord Kartik)
  83. Sumukha: Auspicious face
  84. Sureshwaram: Lord of all lords
  85. Swaroop: Lover of beauty
  86. Tarun: Ageless
  87. Uddanda: Nemesis of evils and vices
  88. Umaputra: The son of goddess Uma (Parvati)
  89. Vakratunda: Curved trunk lord
  90. Varaganapati: Bestower of boons
  91. Varaprada: Granter of wishes and boons
  92. Varadavinayaka: Bestower of Success
  93. Veeraganapati: Heroic lord
  94. Vidyavaridhi: God of wisdom
  95. Vighnahara: Remover of obstacles
  96. Vignaharta: Demolisher of obstacles
  97. Vighnaraja: Lord of all hindrances
  98. Vighnarajendra: Lord of all obstacles
  99. Vighnavinashanaya: Destroyer of all obstacles and impediments
  100. Vigneshwara: Lord of all obstacles
  101. Vikat: Huge and gigantic
  102. Vinayaka: Lord of all
  103. Vishwamukha: Master of the universe
  104. Vishwaraja: King of the world
  105. Yagnakaya: Acceptor of all sacred and sacrificial offerings
  106. Yashaskaram: Bestower of fame and fortune
  107. Yashvasin: Beloved and ever popular lord
  108. Yogadhipa: The lord of meditation

Ganesha Shlokas

SHLOKAS

Shloka 1
Suklam baratharam vishnum sasivarnam sathurbujam
Prasanna vadanam dyayeth sarva vignoba santhaye

Shloka 2
Vakra thunda maha kaya soorya koti sama praba
Nirvignam kurume deva sarva  kaaryeshu sarvadha

Shloka 3
Gajananam, Bhootha Ganaathi Sevitham,
Kavitha Jambu Manasara Bakshitham
Uma sutham, shoka vinaasa haaranam,
Namaami Vigneshwara, paada pankajam

Shloka 4
Agajaanana padmaarkam gajanana maharnisam
Anekadham dham bhakthanam ekadhantham upasmahe
Mooshika Vahana Modhaga Hasta
Shyamala Karna Vilambitha Sutra
Vamana Rupa Maheshwara Putra
Vigna Vinayaka Pada Namaste

Pongal Recipes

Sweet Pongal/Sakkare Pongal Recipe

  • 2 litres Milk
  • 1 and half cups Newly harvested Rice
  • Half cup Moong Dal
  • 15 no. Cashewnuts
  • 10 no. Almonds
  • 30 no. Kishmis
  • Pinch of  Nutrieg Powder
  • 1 and half cup Jaggery (grated) or 1 and half cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saffron (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons ghee

Method

1. Chop almonds and cashewnuts.
2. Clean kishmis.
3. Pour and Boil milk in the earthen pot/ vessel and place it on fire.
4. When the milk starts boiling add washed rice and dal. As soon as the rice and dal are cooked to softness, add jaggery and ghee. Add little water if necessary.
5. Let cook on medium fire for some time and take a small kadai with ghee, roast  almond, cashewnut bits, kishmis saffron, nutmeg and cardamom powders in ghee and then add to the pot of Pongal
6. Bring to one or two good boils.

Best eaten when it is fresh and hot.

Khara Pongal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Rice
  • Half cup Moong dal
  • Pinch of Aseofitoeda/ Ing
  • Half- 1 tsp jeera Half-1 tsp peppercorns
  • Half -1 tsp of grated Ginger
  • Half tsp pepper powdered fresh
  • A few Cashewnuts broken
  • 1/2 cup dessicated Coconut
  • A pinch of Turmeric powder
  • Ghee

Pongal Recipes

Method

Fry the Moongdal a little till you get a light flavour.
2. Mix the dal with the rice, add 3 1/2 cups of water (the rice should cook very very soft)
3. Add turmeric powder, coconut, a few peppercorns and a 1-2 tsp of ghee to the rice and pressure cook till done.
4. When done, take a kadai add sufficient of Ghee to it, more the ghee better it tastes, add Aseofitoeda, jeera, pepper corns and cashewnuts roast, and grated ginger.
5. Add the cooked rice mixture, add pepper powder, salt and mix well with the ghee and jeera/cashewnuts.

Vaikunta Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadashi,  occurs in the Hindu calendar month of Marghazhi or Margashira or Margasirsa (corresponding to late December – January in English calendar). Vaishnavism (Worship of Lord Vishnu) culture believes that ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord’s Inner Sanctum’ is opened on this day. The Margashirsha shukla paksha ekadashi in lunar calendar is known as a ‘Mokshada Ekadashi’. People also know that as a vaikuntaekadashi. However vaikunta ekadashi in Sri Rangam Temple (Tamilnadu) is in the solar margashira month (Margazhi). This year it was on 7th Jan, 2009.

Legend

According to Puranas, Lord  Vishnu opened the gate of Vaikuntam (his abode) for two demons in spite of them being against the Lord. They also asked for the boon that those listen to their story and see the image of Lord coming out of the Dwar called Vaikunth Dwar(Doors of Heaven) they reach Vaikunth as well! Temples all over the India makes a door kind of structure on this day for devotees to pass through that.

According to Vishnu Purana, fasting on Vaikunta Ekadashi is holier to fasting on the remaining 23 Ekadashis of the (Hindu) year. However according to Vaishnava tradition fasting is mandatory on all Ekadashi of both Sukla paksha and Krishna paksha.

In the  Padma Purana, the female energy of Lord Vishnu slayed demon Muran in the form of a damsel named “Ekadashi” and protects `Devas’. Hence those who worship `Ekadashi’ on the day of her victory over Muran would reach `Vaikunth’ (His abode).

In Mahabarata, Bhagavad Gita – the Gita Upadesh between Lord Krishna and Arjuna at the beginning of Kurukshetra War is said to have occurred on this day.

Significance of Ekadashi

Ekadashi is the eleventh day of a fortnight belonging to a lunar month. It refers to the eleventh day of a fortnight belonging to a lunar month. There are two fortnights in a lunar month—the bright and the dark. So, Ekadasi occurs twice in a month, in the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight. Its observance is an astrological phenomenon and it is observed due to this relation we have with some of the planets in the system.

In the Rig-veda, the sun is identified with the soul of the universe as well as the soul of the individual, the centre of our personality; hence the sun is called Atmakaraka.

On the Ekadashi day the sun and the moon influence the human mind to attain high levels of concentration and meditation. Hence, Seekers and Yogis take advantage of these two days and try to practise deep meditation. Vaishnavas treat Ekadasi as a very holy day and also observe a fast on that day

The special feature of Ekadasi, as most people know it, is a fast, abstinence from diet. There is really no intrinsic connection between fast and meditation, but there is some advantage in keeping the light and the stomach free from excessive metabolic function.

Thus the observance of Ekadasi has many advantages—physical, astral, spiritual—and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, you feel mysteriously helped in your meditation and contemplation,—mysteriously because you cannot know this consciously.

Special prayers, yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at Vishnu/Venkateshwara temples across the world on this auspicious day.

Restricted Foods on Ekadasi

Vaikunta Ekadashi

Tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, beets, bitter melon (karela), loki, parmal, toroi, kunli, drumsticks, bindi (ladies’ fingers) and banana flowers.

Peas, chickpeas and all types of beans, including products made from beans (e.g., papadams, tofu, tempeh)

All leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, salads, cabbage) and leafy herbs like parsley, coriander leaves, celery and curry leaves.

Grains (e.g. millet, barley, farina, pasta, rice, corn) and all types of flour made from grains and beans (e.g., rice flour, chickpea flour, urad dahl flour)

Starches from corn or grains, and products made from or mixed with these starches like baking soda, baking powder, certain soft drinks with corn syrup, custard, certain yoghurts and puddings, certain varieties of cream and cottage cheese, certain sweets and candies, and tapioca balls.

Oils made from grains (e.g. corn oil, mustard oil, sesame oil) and products fried in these oils (e.g., fried nuts, potato chips and other fried snack foods), honey, and sweets made with starches.

Spices Used on Ekadasi
Black pepper, fresh ginger, pure salt and fresh turmeric, all taken from a new and clean package

Spices Not Used on Ekadasi
Hing (asafetida), sesame seeds, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, tamarind, fennel, cardamom and nutmeg

Krishna Janma Ashtami

The Lord Krishna, the eighth avthar of Vishnu.His birthday falls on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha or the 8th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Shravan Masa. Popularly known as Janam Ashtami or Krishna Jayanthi.

This festival is celebrated on two days, once on the actual day ( Janam Ashtami) of his birth in prison at Mathura, and the next day (Krishna Jayanthi) on his being discovered in the house of Nand and Yashoda at Gokul. According to the Mythology and scriptures Krishna plays an enlightening role in the Mahabharatha (Great epic) giving us the life enduring message from the Bhagavat Gita.

This is the festival of sweets and revives the childhood stages of Krishna. The Lord is worshipped with offerings – milk, curd, butter, cream, honey and avvalakki (all are Krishna’s favourites), variety of fruits and flowers along with lots and lots of sweets and savouries. People decorate the idols of God with flowers and decorate the Lord with silk and jewelery. They arrange dolls/idols depicting the childhood of Krishna in the cradle, stealing butter, playing with the Gopikas, Mother Yashodha viewing the Vishwa Roopa Darshana, Krishna with Radha etc.

Krishna Janma Ashtami

Rangolis (sacred, coloured designs/patterns decorated on floor) are drawn in front of the houses with various colours. Special foot steps of Lord is made as if baby entering the house. The Puja is performed in at midnight of Janam Ashtami. People arrange for Bhajans (Devotional songs) and Sathsang (singing in Bhajans).

Sri Krishna Janmashtami witnesses the exuberant enactment of the God’s childhood endeavors to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach.  A matka or pot containing these is suspended high above the ground and groups of young men and children form human pyramids to try and reach the pot and eventually break it.

Huli vesha (tiger dance) is a unique form of folk dance in Dakshina kannada that fascinates the young and the old alike. This dance is performed during the Dussera celebration, Krishna Janmasthami.

Festivals in Karnataka

On April 4th 2009, Vairamudi Brahmostava is celebrated at Melkote. This is an annual festival which gathers more than 2 lakh devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana.

Ayudha Pooja

Navaratri is one of the most colorful, dutiful and longest festival observed by Hindus in India. A nine day festival Navaratri (Nava means nine, Ratri means night) is also called as Dasara/Dushhera which usually falls some time between last week of September and first week of October. The dates are set according to the Hindu calender.

Dasara

Dasara is the festival of celebrating women power. Chamundeshwari is the personification of courage, strength and power. Praying to her is believed to help one to be blessed with all these qualities, especially during Dasara. When the male gods failed to destroy the demon, it was the Devi who stood up to the occasion.

Deepavali

Deepavali or Diwali is the festival of diyas or deepas (lights). This five day festival marks the Demon Narkasura killed by Lord Krishna, has been  celebrated across the country and all over the world by Hindus. It is also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika. The Festival Of Lights is the most celebrated Hindu festival. It is the festival of renovating our lives.

The festive preparations begin long before the festival, with houses and business units get cleaned and white washed. Then comes the shopping for new clothes for all the members of the family, the sweets and savouries are prepared,and decorations with streamers, lamps and bursting of crackers.

Vaikunta Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadashi,  occurs in the Hindu calendar month of Marghazhi or Margashira or Margasirsa (corresponding to late December – January in English calendar). Vaishnavism (Worship of Lord Vishnu) culture believes that ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord’s Inner Sanctum’ is opened on this day.

The Margashirsha shukla paksha ekadashi in lunar calendar is known as a ‘Mokshada Ekadashi’. People also know that as a vaikuntaekadashi…More

Ganesha Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, resurrected to life on earth with the head of elephant. It is celebrated as it is the birthday of Lord Ganesha.. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu, Chavath in Konkani and as Chathaa in Nepal Bhasa.

This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada(aHindu month), shukla paksha chathurthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period), madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. Typically, the day falls sometime between August and September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi.

Ganesha Shlokas

108 Names of Lord Ganesha and the meanings

  1. Akhurath: One who has mouse as his charioteer
  2. Alampata : Ever eternal lord
  3. Amit : Incomparable lord
  4. Anantachidrupamayam: Infinite and consciousness personified
  5. Avaneesh: Lord of the whole world

Famous Ganesha Temples

Few well known Ganesha temples are listed below (referred articles from DNA). If you are aware of any which needs to be listed here, please let us know.

Gowri Festival

Gowri Habba or festival is celebrated a day before Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. Goddess Gowri, wife of Lord Shiva, the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya is worshiped through out India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees power, courage, valour. She is the most powerful of all the Goddess and is the very incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya.

It is believed that on the thirteenth day Thadige of the month of Bhaadrapada Goddess Gowri is welcomed at her patents’ house. The next day Lord Ganesha, her son comes as if to take her back to Kailasa. The Swarna Gowri vratha is performed on the occasion, to appease the Goddess.

Ground nut festival

Kadalekai Parishe, the annual groundnut fair is held on the last Monday of Karthika Masa(month in Hindu calendar) near Dodda Ganesha, temple, close to the Bull Temple at Basavanagudi.  The fair started from the previous day with people thronging to the stalls selling buying variety of groundnuts.  The day is a full moon day with vendors from our state and the neighboring states bring their first harvest to the market.

Kambala – Buffalo Race in Mangaluru

Kambala is an annual festival celebrated in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The festival involves the traditional buffalo race, a popular and unique sport among the farming community of the state.

Karaga Festival

The Karaga festival is celebrated throughout Karnataka, but with small variations in rituals and traditions.   The Karaga is an earthen pot that supports a floral pyramid and a small figure of the goddess with a small silver umbrella on top of that. The Karaga is carried on their head without touching it.

Krishna Janma Ashtami

Festivals in Karnataka

The Lord Krishna, the eighth avthar of Vishnu.  His birthday falls on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha or the 8th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Shravan Masa. Popularly known as Janam Ashtami or Krishna Jayanthi.

Mahashivaratri: A night of vigil for Lord Shiva

All over India, Mahashivaratri occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna. On a moonless night in February every year, occurs the night of Shiva, the destroyer. This is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.

Naga Panchami

Panchami habba or Festival  is one of the auspicious day for Hindu women. India, the land of  cobra, and snake charmers as it is famous for, has  special reverence to the snakes. The serpents are associated with many Gods in the Hindu mythology.

Shankranthi

Makara Shankranti is the harvest festival, a new year and the festival of rejoicing and celebrations embracing the entire household friends and neighbors, the servants and the poor, the cows, and then all other living creatures symbolizes universal love and kindness. Pongal is the main dish that is relished on Shankranthi.

Ugadi

It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon, Lord Brahma started the work of creation on this day – Chaitra suddha padhyami or Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s calculations proclaimed this day as the start of a new year, new month and new day from sunrise. Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervor in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Vara Mahalakshmi

Mahalakshmi is the goddess of wealth, auspiciousness and prosperity. She is worshipped for healthy progeny, as well as the health and long life of the husband. Vratha is observed on a Friday that falls before the full Moon day of the month of Shravanamasa (August – September).

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