Photostory :World’s largest tribal congregation -Sammakka Saralamma Jatara

Hello,  Friends !!!!! As you know I simply love to write about the local culture and festivals of Telangana. I can not ignore the recent ” Sammakka Saralamma Jatara” ‘ I don’t know whether you are aware of the fact or not, But this celebration is considered as the World’s largest tribal congregation and second largest congregation ( in general not tribal ) in India after the Maha Kumbh Mela.

It is celebrated once every 2 yrs. There is a 4-day celebration around Magha shuddha Pournami days at a tiny village  Medaram located in a dense forest. This village which inhabits around 400 people otherwise will accommodate around 10-15 Million during these 4 days. The estimated number of devotees in 2014 was about 15 Million.I have witnessed the buzz  during my medicine days. The road to Medaram during this period is sooo busy that Government announces public holiday to colleges, schools and offices which are in the route.

This festival is to get the blessings of Goddesses Sammakka, Saralamma (Mother and daughter ) who were of tribal origin.

I want to thank my friend Khaja pasha for providing these beautiful snaps.

Tribal dances at the congregation
Tribal dances at the congregation

World's largest tribal congregation

 Daddy ,I can not see anything properly
Daddy, let me  see everything
Oggu dance
Oggu dance

You can see  the same type of dance from my marriage here .

World's largest tribal congregation

The perfect click
The perfect click
Devotees take bath in the Vaagu before visiting Goddeses (canal ).
Devotees take bath in the Vaagu(canal ) before visiting Goddeses.

 

People ,people everywhere
People ,people everywhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World's largest tribal congregation and second largest congregation

Do you now believe it is world's largest
Do you now believe it is world’s largest
Possessed
Possessed
Possessed by the Goddess. These sightings are very common.
Possessed by the Goddess.
These sightings are very common.
Offerings
Offerings
Celebrity visits
Celebrity visits
Police protection at every step
Police protection at every step
Child artists performing on stage
Child artists performing on stage
Gadde (Platform where Goddesses are placed ) in the night
Gadde (Platform where Goddesses are placed ) in the night
Gadde(platform)
Gadde(platform)
Offering Bangaram .Bangaram literally translates into Gold in Telugu. But here jaggery is called Bangaram. There is an interesting procedure of weighing an individual with jaggery and then offering it the Goddess . Here is my friend Kalyani.
Offering Bangaram .Bangaram literally translates into Gold in Telugu. But here jaggery is called Bangaram. There is an interesting procedure of weighing an individual with jaggery and then offering it the Goddess . Here is my friend Kalyani.
People in que
People in Que
No idea what is this
No idea what is this

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All ready to please the Goddess
All ready to please the Goddess

 

World's largest tribal congregation and second largest congregation

Temporary huts
Temporary village built in hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of Sankranthi ,part 2

Hello friend….When we talk about festivals ,we have never ending stories .I myself can write a small book on each festival.

I am trying to suppress my enthusiasm and  condense my story in these two parts. There are many things which bring the uniqueness to Sankranthi .As i already talked you about Muggulu and Gobbemma I will move on to other things like..

 

Bhogi manta

SankranthiCredit

Bhogi manta is the bonfire on the day of Bhogi . This tradition started most probably as an effort to fight the freezing temperatures. Another thing People do is to  burn old ,useless things in the bonfire. Sometimes children who want their parents to buy new things for them ,burn their old things before parents notice them .

Bhogi pallu

My friend's niece
My friend’s niece
plate with Bhogi pallu
plate with Bhogi pallu

It is a tradition of blessing children in a small celebration . All the children from the houses nearby are invited .They have to sit tightly together while we pour a mixture of small coins,Jujube (fruits),flower petals on them .Later they are given viands .Children have attend the same thing at every house in the community . Small kids get to eat many fruits while older kids like to pick up coins.I remember carrying a bag with me in childhood to carry  viands back home.

Hari dasu

haridasuCredit

Hari dasu is an exquisitely dressed man who comes to every house while singing traditional songs . Women donate some rice to him to get his blessings .It is a profession but i do not remember when was the last time I have seen one.

Gangireddu

Sankranthi

Credit

As i told you Sankranthi is a festival of showing gratitude to Gods ,people as well as animals . How can you forget the most important friend of a farmer ,an Ox. Remember ,before the age of vehicles they used to help a lot in the field .

So during this time ,they are decorated with bunch of clothes,garlands and are called “Gangireddu” .

There is a profession in which people live with the help of Gangireddu . They can play piper and a small hand held drum.They take the decorated Ox to rich houses .They train the animals to perform small tricks like wishing ,dancing in small steps. Pleased landlords give them grain and clothes. This profession is also in the verge of extinction ,mostly because of  modernization.

 

Betting

sankranthicredit

Sankranthi is a season of betting. This is usually seen in Andhra pradesh . Bettings  involve animals ( Cock fights) which made them illegal . In spite of law ,these things are still going on and crore of money change hands . Sadly politicians and film actors also involved. Here the bettings are taken so seriously that even families are left broken ,and battles happened . ( Battle of Palanadu,for example ).

The roosters used for cock fights are considered very prestigious , the owners spend lakhs of rupees on them . They are fed with costly food,dry fruits daily.

Some more muggulu…..

SankranthiSankranthiSankranthi

If you missed the first post here is the link..

The Story of Sankranthi ,part 1

Other festivals…

Karthika pournami :Dazzling home town

Bathukamma : a history , a heritage , a childhood

5 days of TELUGU WEDDING : Day 1,part2

5 days of TELUGU WEDDING : Day 1,part1

5 days of Telugu wedding Day 2

 

The Story of Sankranthi ,part 1

Hello friends!!! If I have to describe India in single sentence i prfer “Nation of Festivals”  .We have many festivals and The best part is each festival is  celebrated in a unique way . Sankranthi is the festival of ‘ kites and colors’ . It is the festival of celebrating a successful ‘crop year . It is an important festival for farmer families of Andhra Pradesh where Agriculture is the main mean of living (even today) .It is celebrated at a time when they complete one crop year and ready to welcome ‘Dhanya

Lakshmi ‘ ( Goddess of grain or crop ) ;it is also a festival of showing gratitude to all those people and animals who helped in bringing the crop home. The main festival is for 3 days 1.Bhogi 2.Sankranthi 3.Kanumu.

Celebrations start few days before the main festival when women start making a huge collection of viands ( which are expected to last for few months ,so you can imagine the quantities ) .

At the time of festival the viands , new clothes and grain are distributed among the workers . Earlier when money was not that famous ,workers used to get grain that would last for a year.

The festival is also celebrated as a worship of God Indra for making the weather beneficial for crop.

 

Muggulu

You can call it Rangoli if you want ,but it is just a rough translation.There is no proper English word for it.It is the most important part of festival .They use a specially made ‘ Muggu Pindi ‘ ( type of flour ) . Muggu is both science and art .All the traditional  designs have unique number of dots and their arrangement ,if you miss a single dot ,that’s the end of it .

In villages they are decorated with mary gold Flowers and cones of cattle dung  ,called Gobbemma.

The logic behind Muggu is that the flour used for it is considered as insect and pest repellent .When farmers bring their year long hard wok as the grain and store it in specially built storage rooms at home ( Called ‘Gade’ ) , the wives decorate the surroundings with ‘muggu’ to protect the crop from uninvited guests like insects. They are filled with colors which symbolize prosperity .Even today many people believe that Goddess Lakshmi would like to come to those houses which are richly decorated with Muggulu.

Image credits to my friends Kavitha,Manasa,Kalyani

sankranthi

sankranthi

sankranthi

sankranthisankranthi

sankranthi

sankranthi
It is saying Happy Bhogi in Telugu

 

Gobbemmalu ,Gobbilla patalu

Like there is no proper English word for Muggu ,there is no proper English word for Gobbemma .There cones and pyramids made of cattle dung .They are used to decorate the designs. Girls  clap and dance aroundnthem singing songs. The main content of songs is praying Goddess Lakshmi for a good husband . (Whatever a girl does before a marriage is to get a best husband  and after marriage is for longevity of the husband while guys do not need anything like this. ) As much as i hate the idea of praying for

a husband ,i love the rhythm and rhyming of the songs . If you want to hear them ,click here ..

Makar-Sankranti-Gobbemma-desibantu    Credit

sankranti Credit.

I actually wanted to write just one post ,but i realized that there so much to tell and I will not be able to complete it in single post ,so there will be another post coming.

Read the second part here

 

I hope you like these pictures….

you might want to read about other festivals….

Bathukamma : a history , a heritage , a childhood

Karthika pournami :Dazzling home town

5 days of TELUGU WEDDING : Day 1,part2

5 days of TELUGU WEDDING : Day 1,part1

 

Karthika pournami :Dazzling home town

Hello friends!!!!!!!!Day before yesterday was Karthika pournami . That is  the full moon day of the month Karthikamasam.karthika pournami

The day is important for both Lord Shiva and Vishnu .Lord Vishnu killed a rakshas called Jalandhara and Lord Shiva killed Thripurasura on the same day . So it is celebrated for both . I have no personal interest in any of the story or worship ;What i am more interested is the celebration at our home town . I was ( as well as my parents ) born in a small town called Dharmapuri ( current location Telangana)  on the bank of river Godavari. It is a famous pilgrimage site in Telangana and some border districts of Maharashtra. Many of the major festivals are  celebrated very brightly here. (Read about the festival called Bathukamma ,here ) .

For Karthika pournami a place called Koneru (temple’s water tank or reservoir ) is decorated with lamps (diya) everywhere.

It is a site which holds breath for few seconds . I really feel very excited for being able to take part in it many times , though not this time . I just wanted to share few pictures with you.

karthika pournami

karthika pournami

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Bathukamma : a history , a heritage , a childhood

The colorful ones
                                            The colorful ones

Happy sunday friends !! Since the beginning of Navarathri my heart i have been brooding over the fact that i could not be part of ‘ Bathukamma celebrations ‘ this time . I f you do not belong to Telangana or AP states , there are few chances of having heard about ‘Bathukamma ‘ .But for us it’s a part of our lives . No one can separate Telangana and Bathukamma from each other . No wonder when the Telangana movement ( Before separation from AP ) was in full bloom Bathukamma was played everywhere regardless of season .President of an organization ‘TELANGANA JAGRUTHI’  MP Kavitha has penetrated the masses ,could reach and flatter many women hearts during the movement by organizing many nonseasonal Bathukamma events and encouraging local women to participate in them. Then the events were organized at many temples, schools ,colleges even offices .Her gracious presence in each of those places with Bathukamma had won  crores of hearts  .There was no meeting , no rally or strike where Bathukamma was not celebrated .Bathukamma has almost become an icon for Telangana .

I know I am going into too much of politics . I have no interest in them . My love for  Bathukamma began in my childhood . As by the age of 4 or 5yrs ( as far as i remember )we are allowed to and ordered to take part in it. Before going into all the things let me give you a short   (hi)story .

Bathukamma is not just a festival for women. It is a festival to worship feminity in the nature ,where flowers represent women.Mythological story tells about Goddess Gouri after feeling humiliated by Lord Shiva’s comments on her dusky complexion , prayed for Brahma who eventually gave her a golden color . That is why in the center of every Bathukamma there will be a turmeric lump representing her . There is another story of a King who was desperate for kids but all his male new born babies end up dying . He requests all nearby saints to bless him with a heir .So when the Queen gives birth to a baby girl ,all saints come to bless her ‘Bathukamma’ ( literally means ‘long live amma’ ) .

Bathukamma                         The typical bathukamma

Bathukamma

Bathukamma                     various sizes and shapes

 

 

 

 

 Foreign Bathukamma , made with atypical flowers as the routine one's are not available there.This just shows how seriously our people take the festival
Foreign Bathukamma , made with atypical flowers as the routine one’s are not available there.This just shows how seriously our people take the festival

 

 

 

 women ready to play
                                women ready to play , see the  creative decorations and the glowing faces

BathukammaIt is celebrated for 9 days .The first day is called ‘Boddemma’, the last day is ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ . Everyone of the household will be busy for those 9 days. It starts in the morning all old children and teenagers are sent to market to buy heaps of flowers . After a short  siesta the real work starts . First thing is preparing Bathukamma ;it is an art . Flowers arranged in various rows in a cone shape.It actually takes more than 2 hrs .Second stage is making a snack. It is not that simple cause you have to for at least 20 people and you have to make one special item each day . Third is getting ready for celebration. In childhood it was almost like a fashion parade for me. Mom used to pick one kind of dress for each day like midi one day ,parikini one day ,frock ,saree,half saree etc etc .

Once everything is done by around 5 in the evening , women and children with Bathukamma and snack boxes in hands start for the venue .In our place it is the bank of the river’Godavari’ . Where everyone will gather to divide themselves into small groups who arrange all their respective Bathukammas and snack boxes in a circle ;start playing around it singing lovely songs.

The songs seemed to me really playful in childhood but now when i think about them i can find stories , histories (mainly of Kakthiya Dynasty) ,mythology ,anthropology in them . They pass from one generation to other . My grandmother taught me few.

While the women sang songs and played ‘Bathukamma’ in circles , kids run and play in sand. With the creeping darkness , they would declare end of that day’s session . That would be a great news for us as we get to have snacks . Women with help of elderly children walk into the waters of the river ‘Godavari’ to release ‘Bathukamma’ ,then they ask children to go in batches to distribute the snacks they prepared . Everyone gets chance to taste snacks of everyone else . Boy!! It was like a huge feast . And this happens daily . No wonder used to get craving for the festival throughout the year .

 

It is so sad to say that becoming a doctor has ruined my festival. These days i hardly get chance to go down to my place.

I spent all these navarathri days in guilt and gloom . I really hope to participate at least in next ‘Bathukamma’

 

Photo courtesy – my buddies Manasa and Kavitha .Thank you babies!!!!!!!

If you guys are interested in watching a visual on Bathukamma there are many videos.One of it is linked below

.Bathukamma song