Bangalore is gearing up for Harmony Festival – Karaga – April 16

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Express press service

BENGALURU: Bengaluru is gearing up for a full-fledged Karaga festival, which is a symbol of community harmony, this time after two years of muted celebrations due to the Covid pandemic. The 11-day festivities will kick off from Friday at the famous Sri Dharmarayaswamy Temple at Thigalarapete (Kalyanapuri) in Bengaluru.

Even as the hijab, halal and azaan divide the community, the moulvis of Masthan Saab Dargha visited the Dharmarayaswamy temple and officially invited the Karaga procession to visit the dargha on April 16.

“It has been the tradition. Like the way the Karaga procession touches various temples including the Anjaneya Swamy temples in the four directions of the city, it will also visit the dargha. Karaga is celebrated for the welfare of humanity all over the world (loka kalyana) regardless of which community people belong to,” said Dr K Lakshmana, former administrator of Dharmarayaswamy Temple and President of India of the South Agnikula Vahnikula Kshathriya Mahasangha.

V Jnanendra Vahnikula Gowda will also wear the Karaga this year, as he has done for 11 years. Organizers expect at least six lakh people to attend the Draupadi Devi Karaga Shakthyotsava and Sri Dharmarayaswamy Maha Rathotsava as the procession leaves the Dharmarayaswamy temple at 12:30 p.m. on April 16, the day of Chaithra Poornima according to the Hindu calendar. It will travel 38 km before rolling up.

Puducherry CM N Rangaswamy, who is a Vahnikula Kshathriya, will be the main guest. Lakshmana said, “It is believed that those who witness Karaga will be relieved of their misdeeds for seven births. Mythology tells that Draupadi descends to Earth three days a year. On April 16, the Aadishakthi Draupadi Devi will be invoked in the body of the pujari. The wristband ceremony will take place between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Arjuna Kalyanotsava, Draupadi’s marriage to Arjuna in the Godhuli lagna, will be performed in the evening. After various rituals, the ‘Karaga Utsava’ will begin. KaRaGa is short for KAiyalli muttade, RUndadalli dharasi, GAthisuvudu – which literally means carrying the deity on the head without touching it and moving forward. The highest part of the Karaga (agra bhaga) is considered the position of Vishnu, and it will carry the Kalasha, the chathri (umbrella), the shanku (conch) and the chakra (wheel). The neck position, or kantasthnaana, is the position of Lord Shiva, who will have damaruga (drums) and trishula (trident). The thala sthaana is considered the position of Brahma, while the middle part will have lemons, considering it maathru gana (the position of the goddess).

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