Nine-day unique Karaga begins in Bangarpet

Nine-day unique Karaga begins in Bangarpet

The Bangarpet Karaga which was patronised by the Vahnikula Mahimandala Nayak Maharaj Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur G G S I has its own uniqueness.

The 63rd Karaga mahotsav which began on May 6 and ends on May 12 this time has many attractions like Hasi Karaga, Utlujathre, Agnikunda pravesh, Vasanthotsava and on May 10 flower Karaga. The devotees will gather in large numbers eagerly to watch all these programmes.  

In the earlier days after the farming activities, the people would entertain themselves with bhajans, Harikathas and other activities. This is the foundation for the Karaga mahotsav. The elders describe Karaga as Shakti Goddess Drapuathi and her children Veerakumars.

It is said that Karaga began in Tamil Nadu and then the practice came to Karnataka. This is celebrated in a grand way in Bangalore, Kolar, Hoskote, Malur, Magadi, Bangarpet and several other places.

The Vahnikulas (Tigalas) follow very strict rituals on all the nine days of the Karaga. On the first day, village heads, elder, Karaga priests, Ganachari and Gante priests will be welcomed.

They will stay for all the nine days in the temple premises. On the same day Vahnikula priests are also invited and flag is hoisted. On the eighth day they will travel in all the eight directions and bring the water from the Kalyani or the nearby lakes. The Vahnikula women cleansing themselves will observe fast and with lamps of Thambittu enter the temple. On the seventh day they will offer pooja to the Shakti Peetha Kalyani that has been identified.

In the evening workers, elders, Gowdaru, Veerakumaras, Karaga priests will perform pooja near the Kalyani Shakti peeth. The Veerakumars will kadgas in the corner of the Shakti peetha and wear the sacred thread.

When the camphor is lit with all devotion, the Shakti Goddess in Shaktipeetha will glow.

This Shakti called as Hasi Karaga will be carried by Karaga priest and three others to the Dharmaraya temple. It is a attractive sight to watch the Veerakumaras laying white cloth on the road.

The Vahnikula women who have keep the vratha on the eight day will carry small logs in a basket and bring it to the temple premises where they will cook pongal and after doing naivedya to Shakti Goddess will offer it to Veerakumars.

On the ninth day according to the tradition, the Karaga priest will be made to wear the bangles and decorated and will be married to the five Pandavas.

The Karaga priest will wear his wife’s mangalya. After the full moon, the Karaga priest, Veerakumaras, elders will wear teh yellow or red cloth and return to the temple carrying the Hasi Karaga.

In the sanctum sanctorum , in the presence of Gante priest, Ganachari and Veerakumars the Karaga priest will carry the Karaga on his head and come outside the temple and starts dancing. The devotees are mesmerised watching this wonderful spectacle and completely immersed in total joy.

The priest who carries the Karaga has to go around the town and return before the Sun rises and enter the Agnikunda.

The Karaga priest should not partake any food till he puts down the Karaga. On the third day there will be a discourse on Mahabharata.  The next day it is a sight to behold when the priest participates in Vasanthotsava and keeps a copper vessel on the pestle and fills it with turmeric water after offering pooja, places it on his head and starts dancing. The experience is spiritually elevating.

This year, many decked up Gods kept in the Pallakis, from several villages in the taluk will participate in the Karaga mahotsav. These will be stationed in front of the Dharmarayaswami temple. Bethamangala Nagara is the Karaga priest.

The devotees can get the darshan of the lord, said Sri Dharamarayaswami temple Welfare Committee president.

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