Chamarajanagara: While tensions between Hindus and Muslims prevail, both communities in the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu border village set an example of communal harmony by celebrating the Maramma festival in unison.
The late Kannada matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar was born in the Talavadi Village in Tamil Nadu near Chamarajanagara. The majority of the villagers are Kannadigas despite the fact that it is in Tamilnadu.
The Maramma Temple and a mosque are located in the heart of the village, separated only by a wall. Every year in March, villagers celebrate the Maramma festival, in which both communities actively participate.
The Maramma Kondotsava (barefoot crossing on live coal) takes place in front of the mosque. Four decades ago, there was a petty conflict between two communities but the elders resolved it, and the two communities have been living peacefully ever since.
Both the temple and mosque were constructed during the regime of the erstwhile King Tipu Sultan.
Before Kondotsava, villages hold Maramma Devi Utsava, in which folk artistes perform Chandi Mela, Gorava dance, Veeragase, and Beeredevara dance. No one including Muslims, eat non-vegetarian food during the annual fair. Even the bodies of the deceased are not brought into the village.
The annual fair is celebrated by people of all castes taking on various responsibilities. People from the Brahmin, Lingayat, Halu Matha, Uppara, Nayaka, and schedule castes live in the village.
Earlier, 20-30 devotees crossed the live coal pond but after a few were injured in the fire, the locals decided to have one man cross the pond. The same devotee crosses the fire pond ever since.
Every year, thousands of devotees attend the annual pooja at Maramma Temple. Last week, Kannada actor Dr. Shivaraj Kumar took part in the annual jatra and crossed the fire pond.