Chikka Rathotsava held at B R Hills

Ban on animal sacrifices compensated by cooking non-veg

Thousands of people participated in Chikka Rathotsava (car festival) at Biligiriranga Hills (B R Hills), Yalandur taluk, on Tuesday.

Devotees waited in patience in the more than one-km long queue to have ‘darshan’ of the presiding deity Biligiriranganatha Swamy.

The ‘utsava murthy’ (used for procession) of Biligiriranganatha Swamy was mounted on the car at Meena lagna at 12.30 pm. As ‘garuda’ appeared in the sky, the procession started, amidst chanting of hymns by agamikas and cheering by devotees.

Thousands of people joined hands to pull the car. Those who could not go near the car stood along the car street, folding their hands in reverence and showered paddy, ragi, jowar, fruits, flowers, currency coins, ‘jawana’, etc on it.

The car was decorated with sugarcane, plantain stalks, flowers, fruits and flags of various colours. Devotees offered coconuts to the wheels of the car. The car completed a ‘pradakshine’ (one round) around the temple and was stationed at the main entrance for the devotees to offer pooja. Soligas from nearby haadis, who are integral for the car festival, cheered ‘Bhavaji’ and offered mekke, kavae and gudime fruits to the car.

Devotees had arrived at the hill shrine from all over the state and special bus services had been organised to ease the rush. Drinking water and ‘prasada’ arrangements were adequate.

Temporary shops put up for the occasion did brisk business. Those who had observed vow by wearing ‘Rangappana Tulsi Male’ — similar to Shabarimale male — sang bhajans in praise of Biligiriranganatha Swamy, deemed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

There is a ban on animal sacrifice for the past few years on the hill, so devotees were seen cooking non-veg food at its foot. Additional police force had been deployed to facilitate smooth flow of traffic and security at Gavibore and Chaingate.
The exhibition organised by the agriculture department wore a deserted look. It looked like a mere government formality, done for documentation purpose.

Ex-MLA S Balaraju, ZP member Kethamma, TP member Mahesh Kumar, GP president Mahesh, vice-president D C Babu, member Thantri Nanjegowda and BSP leader Mahesh were among the prominent personalities who took part in the festival.
DySP Chennabasavanna, CPI Keerthi Kumar, sub-inspectors Chikkaraju Shetty and Mahadeva Naik oversaw security arrangements.

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