Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Goddess Adishakti Draupadi

From KARAGA FESTIVAL Spectacle under the full moon The Karaga festival is a well-known tradition of the Thigala community in Karnataka and Bangalore in particular. A Citizen Matters pic feature. By Amoghavarsha JS 29 Apr 2008 [There are lots of photographs accompanying this article] Karaga is one of the oldest festivals in Karnataka and is also celebrated in Tamilnadu. In Bangalore, the Dharmarayaswamy Temple in Thigalarpet (central Bangalore, between the City Market area and Richmond Town) has been the focal point of this festival. Karaga ran its course in the third week of April this year. These pictures were taken on the night of 20 April, a full moon. About Karaga Adishakti Draupadi is the community deity of the Vanikula Kshatriya Thigala community, and Karaga is the 9-day festival observed by them in reverence to the Goddess. The Thigalas believe that Draupadi Shakti (power) brims over during the Karaga festival and the Karaga carrier dressing as a female is symbolic of Draupadi. The karaga itself is a mud pot, on which stands a tall floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier's head. The karaga-bearer himself symbolises goddess Draupadi and is therefore adorned like a woman. The karaga-bearer leaves the temple around midnight. The goddess is brought for the darshan of the devotees from the temple on the head of the karaga-bearer. The festival's route in Bangalore begins at the Dharmarayaswamy temple and snakes through the old city via Cubbonpet, Ganigarapet, Avenue Road, Dodderpet, Akkipet, Balepet, Kilari Road, Nagarathpet and surrounding areas. The karaga is expertly balanced on the carrier's head. The carrier, in his temporary avatar as Draupadi, goes to the houses of the Veerakumaras where their families perform pooja to the karaga. The carrier is practically in a trance even as he dances along with the Veerakumaras (who are carrying their swords). By the time the procession returns to the temple it is dawn. ⊕

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