Reliving a centuries-old tradition

Reliving a centuries-old tradition

Reliving a centuries-old tradition

Lore of B’LORE The annual groundnut fair in Bangalore’s Basavanagudi has a  history of nearly four centuries.The ‘kadalekaayi parishe’ continues to draw crowds even today,  writes Shankaranarayan.

The annual groundnut fair, popularly known as kadalekaayi parishe, is held on the last Monday of the kaarthika maasa at Basavanagudi, Bangalore. The groundnut crop grown in the surrounding areas of the City, is brought to this place by vendors. Farmers even arrive from far off places like Tamil Nadu with groundnuts. The venue of the fair is a tiny hillock on which a temple is built for the bull. This temple houses a giant statue of a bull, which is offered special worship on this day. 

The area in which this temple is located is known as Bull Temple area or Basavanagudi. This temple is one of the historical landmarks of the city. During the fair, groundnuts are first offered to the sacred bull in the temple as naivedya. 

Also, truck loads of groundnuts are spread out all over the venue in anticipation of a brisk sale. People wade through heaps of groundnuts on their way to the temple atop the hillock.

The groundnut fair has a history of more than 400 years. Memories of how the fair has been celebrated over the past decades are still green in the minds of people who have been living in the City from a long time. 

The story of a wild bull is associated with this fair. 

Lore has it that centuries ago, there used to be a bumper crop of groundnuts, every year for farmers in this area. But one day, a wild bull arrived from nowhere and started grazing the fields and destroying the crop. 

The worried farmers tried their best to capture the bull. But the bull eluded them. One day, at the harvest time, a few villagers spotted the wild bull in the darkness of the night, grazing in the fields. When they slowly and stealthily advanced towards the bull, the bull vanished. The incident shook the villagers. 

They believed that the wild bull was the sacred Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Maheswara. The villagers then took a solemn oath that they would offer a portion of the groundnut crop every year to Nandiswara, the sacred bull without fail. The tradition continues even now.  

Boiled beans

The name of the city, actually, was ‘Bendakaaluru’, which means a place of baked beans. It is said that once when Kempegowda, the ruler of Magadi province, was on a tour of his province, he began to feel hungry and tried to find something to eat. However, he could not find a place offering him food. He, then, entered a small hut in which an old woman lived. This woman is said to have offered him a plate of baked beans. Kempegowda felt immensely happy and named the place as Bendakaaluru, after this incident. Subsequently, the city acquired the name of Bangalore.

This story, of course, remains in the realm of legend and has no historical evidence attached to it.On the day of the fair, Bangaloreans make a beeline to the venue to enjoy the taste of fresh groundnuts. Even people from far off moffusil areas come in large numbers to take part in the fair. Boiled and fried groundnuts are sold in nook and corner of the venue. People relish the nuts along with jaggery. 

Giant wheels and merry go round games are installed to entertain youngsters and children. Stalls selling toys, fun games, cosmetics and fancy items lure women and children.The fair has not lost its sheen and continues to attract crowds even today. It is a slice of tradition holding its sway over the minds of the residents of a rapidly transforming urban conglomeration, called Bangalore. 

                                                 

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