Thousands witness Nanjangud car festival

Last Updated 24 March 2013, 16:48 IST

Religious fervour marked the ‘pancha maharathotsava,’ being held as part of ‘dodda jatre’ at the Srikanteshwara temple, in Nanjangud on Sunday. A sea of humanity gathered to witness the event.

The temple’s rathotsava is unique to South India. The procession deities of Srikanteshwara, Parvathi, Ganapathi, Subramanya and Chandikeshwara were placed on the respective chariots, which were pulled during the auspicious Meena lagna between 6 am and 6.40 am.

The chariot of Ganapathi was pulled first, followed by the others. In keeping with the tradition, a team of priests performed special pujas and other rituals, before flagging off the rathotsava. Thousands of devotees, who had come a day earlier to be a part of the historic festival, pulled the chariot chanting ‘Om namah shivaya’ and ‘Hara hara mahadev’. The devotees took turns to pull the mammoth Srikanteshwara chariot, also called the ‘Gautama ratha’. It is 95-foot tall and weighs 80 tonnes. Others showed their obeisance by throwing fruits and ‘javana’ on the ratha.

The chariots were pulled back into the temple at 9.30 am, after covering a distance of 1.5 km, through the main roads of the town.

Ambulances, fire tenders and cranes were positioned at vantage points, to be deployed in case of emergencies.

Teppotsava, another important part of the festival, will be held on an illuminated boat on River Kapila at 7 pm on Tuesday.

There were some tense moments when the rope used to pull the Srikanteshwara ratha snapped on the Pathashala Road. Immediately, another rope was tied to the chariot and the procession continued, only to encounter another impediment. When the chariot reached the Angadi Road, three bulls suddenly charged at the crowd, creating chaos and confusion.

(Published 24 March 2013, 16:48 IST)

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