Kalaghatagi Gramadevi Jatre is one of the largest fairs in North Karnataka and is visited by lakhs of people from the State and outside the State. They offer obeisance to the Goddesses. They arrive with their families and witness the splendor of the fair.
Once in three years, the fair of Gramadevi is held with great pomp in Kalaghatagi of the Dharwad District. Again this fair will be held in the upcoming 2023 in February and March. A unique Horavar system is observed for the fair. Thousands of families lock their houses and go out of town.
Many religious traditions including bhajanas and keertanas are held for nine days.
The rituals of the fair are related to Kalaghatagi, Dastikoppa, Kalakundi, Bendigeri Machapur & Machapur Tanda and these villages celebrate Horavar. In these five villages, no auspicious work will be undertaken and also Holi full moon will not be celebrated. They vacate the house for five days. Irrespective of caste, creed and religion, they stay away from home from morning to evening.
A five-week celebration Before Fair
It is tradition to celebrate three Tuesdays and two Fridays. People spend time with their families in gardens, paddies, and under trees outside the town by making baskets of food. Shop and business transactions will be completely closed. On these days the town is empty. It is believed that Gramadevi roams the town on weekends. People believe that she kills evil spirits.
Fair of spirituality
The Gramadevi Temple in Kalaghatagi Town houses Shakti deities named Dyamavva, Durgavva and three-faced deity. It is believed that these three sisters are goddesses who protect the village since time immemorial. Dyamavva Devi is coated with red colour and Durgavva Devi is coated with green colour. It is customary to paint the three-faced Goddess red, green and yellow. Goddesses are ritually worshiped till the end of Horavar celebrations. After the pooja methods are finished, a new colour coating is done.
On the installation of the Goddesses, they are carried out in a grand manner. Dastikoppa is the hometown of Gramadevi. Mahapuja is offered to the Goddess by the family members. A three-faced deity is enshrined in the Temple itself. But Goddess Dyamavva and Duragavva Devi are brought in a procession accompanied by musical instruments and enshrined in Chowtakatti on Akkioni.
Many religious traditions including bhajanas and keertanas are held for nine days. The worship of the Goddesses starts in the morning. Also, the fair is held from evening till dawn.
Various religious programmes are held continuously for nine days. A pile of rice is placed in front of the Goddesses Dyamavva and Durgavva and five lamps are lit day and night. The Raniga Samaj waits for nine days to light the lamp. On the ninth day, a grass hut and a kona made of flour are burnt in front of the Goddesses. The blood from the corner left for the Goddesses is taken out in a syringe and sprinkled. The ritual represents symbolic sacrifice without animal sacrifice. Devotees pray to the Goddesses to suppress evil and protect the virtuous. On the ninth day, the idols of the Goddesses are brought and placed on the footstool (paadagatti) on the border of Bendigeri Village. Goddesses are worshiped till midnight and then idols are dissolved.
It is believed that the Goddesses leave the Earth and is born again. Thus till Ugadi the time is celebrated as Sutaka. People do not undertake any auspicious undertakings during this period. On Ugadi, the deities are re-enthroned and filled with Udi. Then religious functions proceed as usual.