Bengaluru: At a time when certain parts of Karnataka are witnessing a communal flare-up over trivial issues, the centuries-old Karaga Mahotsava in the heart of the IT capital presents a fine blend of social unity and communal harmony.
The nine-day mahotsava, organized by Tigalas or the Vanni Kula Kshatriyas, concluded in the wee hours of Sunday, and it was never complete without ‘Draupadi Devi’ giving ‘darshan’ to Hazrat Tawakkal Shah Mastan.
“The Dargah of the Hazrat Tawakkal Shah Mastan is to the Dharmaraya Swami temple. The Sufi was a great devotee of our family Goddess Draupadi Devi. He had wished that after his passing way, he would wish to see her every year. Accordingly, the procession stays at Dargah for some time on the concluding day ceremony,” the Congress MLC P R Ramesh told PTI.
The Karaga festival is unique to Bengaluru. The city may be the only place in the country which has Swami Dharmaraya Temple or the temple of Yudhisthira, say people from Tigala community.
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Every year in the Chaitra Maasa, or the first month of the Indian lunar calendar, the procession of Draupadi Devi is taken out from the Dharmaraya Temple in the heart of the city near the head office of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, which passes through various areas before concluding.
“Legend has it that Draupadi Devi on her way to heaven was obstructed by Thimirasura. To overpower him, Draupadi assumes the form of Goddess Aadi Shakti and creates an army of Veerakumaras, Gowda, Ganacharya, Pujari and the Vanni Kula Kshatriyas,” Ramesh, who belongs to Vanni Kula Kshatriya community, said.
After the demon was killed, Draupadi once again began her journey to the heaven when the chieftains of her army request her to stay with them.
Draupadi then assured them that every year in Chaitra Masa, she will spend three days. Those three days are celebrated as Hasi Karaga, Pongal and Pete Karaga.
On the last day of the nine-day festivities, Pete Karaga is celebrated where the temple priest takes out procession holding the deity decorated with jasmine, on top of his head.
Carrying the deity, the priest in turmeric-soaked clothes takes the Karaga to different places in and around the Dharmaraya temple.
It goes to Karagana Kunte, a tank inside the Cubbon Park where Pongame oil tree is worshipped. It also goes inside the BBMP head office where special prayers are performed in a centuries-old temple.
The Karaga also goes to the Dargah abiding by the wish of the Sufi.
“The Dharmaraya Swami temple was built during the Ganga rulers. The Karaga festival has some 800 years of history but the tradition of visiting Dargah started some 200 years ago, which continues till date,” Ramesh said.
In keeping with the centuries-old tradition, the Pete Karaga visited Dargah and the festivities concluded early Sunday, he added.