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Sankranti festival takes on multiple hues in Bangalore

Bangalore, Jan 13, 2013, DHNS:
The choicest: On the eve of Makara Sankranti, a woman looks through a pile of sugarcane before choosing the best at  Gandhi Bazaar in Bangalore on Sunday. DH Photos

One of the prominent festivals of the Hindus, Makara Sankranti, is celebrated differently in different areas of the City.

The celebrations have acquired several changes over the years, but the spirit remains the same. These changes are mainly due to exodus of people from different parts of the State and country in the last two decades.

“Each of these groups has added value and their traditional elements, making it an important festival of the City. It seems to be a new Sankranti for me though I am born and brought up in the City,” says Prasanna Kumar, 80, a resident of Chandra Layout.

The City is home to  three major communities - people from North Karnataka (N-K), Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu - who celebrate it differently. However, they all miss the traditional grandeur, he analyses.
The celebrations differ in Vijayanagar, Basaveshwaranagar, Nandini Layout, Mahalakshmi Layout, Peenya and Yeshwantpur, where a large number of people from North Karnataka reside. For them, pongal does not form an essential item of lunch, but Holige and Holige saru, dry jowar rotis and different types of powders.

“The trend has changed over the years. These days, it’s tedious to make food and other preparations. I have been living in Nandini Layout for the last 15 years and have noticed the changes. We symbolically perform some rituals as we don’t have lands here. We exchange jaggery and til with our friends. We go to some of the hotels which serve typical North Karnataka food in Malleswaram and Vijayanagar as we get traditional dishes under one roof,” says B R Rachaiah, a businessman in Basaveshwaranagar.

It’s also time for khanavali (lunch home serving traditional N-K food) owners to make brisk business.
“We get a huge crowd of North Karnataka people, specially on festivals like Sankranti, to celebrate in a traditional way,” says Rudragouda, who runs Renuka Khanavali in Marenahalli.

“It’s time for us to make money and we take care to prepare all possible types of food items from N-K region. Some of them come with family members, while some others take parcels. Either way, it’s a profit making season for us,” he says.

Even big hotels have not lagged behind in attracting customers. They offer special package food during Sankranti and also take up catering. A few such hotels are located in Malleswaram, Indiranagar, Jayanagar and Chickpet. The hotel staff find it difficult to cater to the large crowd. During the last couple of years, malls are also attracting customers by organising festival events and announcing discounts. Some of them also offer festival delicacies.

Celebrations in areas like Srirampura, Okalipuram, Ulsoor, Electronics City and Hosur Road, where a majority of the Tamil-speaking population resides, take on a different hue.

“We celebrate it in a grand way as it is our traditional festival. Pongal is an essential item of our menu. We wear new clothes and visit temples. The grandeur of the past is missing these days. Many youngsters are not willing to involve in the celebrations. Their celebrations end by wishing friends and having good food at hotels,” says Manivannan, who runs a cloth shop in Srirampura.

“Buying sugarcane, decorating houses with flowers, drawing rangoli in front of the houses and preparing special food is part of our celebrations,” Ranga Naidu, a businessman in K R Puram, says. A large number of people from different parts of Andhra Pradesh reside in Murugeshpalya, HAL, Indiranagar, HSR Layout, Yelahanka, Thippasandra and Baiyappanahalli areas. But we don’t have hotels that serve typical Sankranti food for people from Andhra Pradesh , he said.

The celebration is totally different in residential apartments where people from across the country reside. Most of the flats have residential welfare associations and have common celebrations.

“It’s a new thing for people from North India and the North East. We gather at all festivities and exchange greetings. I feel our children are deviating from the traditional routes, but we are helpless,”Avinash, an IT professional from Davangere, who stays in an apartment on Ring Road in Mahadevapura says.

BBMP on the toes


The BBMP, on account of Sankranti, has decided to utilise the entire workforce at its disposal to manage the garbage problems. The BBMP, having cancelled the holidays for their Engineering and Health departments, is not expecting much of a garbage problem in the City.

“We are expecting the garbage problem to be restricted to the markets during Sankranti. Already, the BBMP has put in place additional workforce to manage the waste,” said a BBMP spokesperson.

The Palike will increase the number of trucks at its disposal to remove accumulating garbage across the
City over the next 48 hours, with the anticipation of an increase by 5 to 10 percent in waste loads.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah toured the K R Market and Koramangala areas to redress people’s problems and for monitoring preparedness for garbage disposal in the light of the festivities.


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