News Karnataka
Wednesday, February 28 2024

Banashankari Jatra: Unique fest lasts for a month

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The Badami Banashankari Temple has its own legacy for centuries. Badami is the capital city of Chalukyas, this temple is adored as the kingdom deity of Chalukyas. Till today the rituals of the temple remained the same. The speciality of the temple is the annual fair it holds.

The temple celebrates its annual festival called Banashankari jatre, in the months of January or February. The festival comprises cultural programmes, a boat festival as well as a Rath yatra when the temple goddess is paraded around the City in a chariot. Banshakhari is a form of Maa Shakambhari Devi whose real, main and ancient temple is located in Saharanpur District in Uttar Pradesh. It is also known as Shaktipeeth Shakambhari Devi.

It starts on the 8th day of Pushya masa. Banada Hunnime is celebrated on a full moon day. No past data is traceably confirming the beginning of such a festival, but it is inferred that it started some two hundred years back.

Pilgrims from across the State and also the neighbouring State of Maharashtra belonging to different religious beliefs, congregate here in large numbers to celebrate the festival. The time is considered auspicious to even fix marriages and purchase agricultural implements. Cultural programmes (music, drama and circus) are held to entertain the largely rural community who flock to the venue to not only worship their favourite deity but also for fun and frolic. It symbolises cultural bonding between people of different communities here. A unique feature is that many shops and kiosks set up during the festival selling vermilion, clothing, sacred threads and sweets are operated by Muslims who also displays a portrait of the goddess Banashankari in their shops.

Another interesting marketing activity seen at this venue is the sale by artisans of Holeyalur and surrounding areas of elaborately engraved door frames and doors made in teak, acacia and other varieties of wood. A cattle fair is also held during this festival. The speciality of the cattle fair is the focus on the sale of white bulls.

During the festival, the temple and town are decorated with hundreds of varieties of leaves and flowers. In the fair, which starts on Bandhashtami day, a Palleda Habba or the Vegetable Utsava or festival is also held when at the start itself 108 varieties of food items (called ‘bazi’ in the local language) made of vegetables are offered to the deity.

The festival also marks another unique event namely, the Teppotsava (the boat festival) held in the temple tank. During this event, parents use boats made of banana stems to ferry newly born children blessed by the grace of the goddess around the pond seeking good luck for their children.

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Raksha Deshpande

The author is a postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Karnataka University, Dharwad. Her interests range from literature, history, travel to politics, and is keenly interested to write human interest stories and articles relating to literature, travel.

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