Reportedly for the first time in over a century, the bengaluru Karaga Shaktiyotsava will take place on wednesday, april 8 without a procession. The eleven-day festival, which is believed to have been celebrated for more than a century, generally has lakhs of devotees gather for multiple processions. But with the lockdown in place, only 13 people are taking part in the festival at the city’s Sri Dharmarayana Swamy temple, located in Nagarathpet.
Even though some records suggest that the festival began during the reign of Kempegowda in the 16th century, experts say the procession itself likely only began about 800 to 1,000 years ago. Narayana Swamy, one of the primary organisers of the festival, says that the procession had not been halted even when the plague hit bengaluru in 1898.
We have asked all devotees to pray at home and perform puja at home this year. We have asked the government to allow Doordarshan to broadcast the rituals so people can watch it from home. Meanwhile the main procession has been replaced by a ceremony inside the temple with the four primary priests and nine others from the Thigala community. The tenth and eleventh days do not witness grand processions. However, the huvina karaga (flower karaga) is taken out of the Sri Dharamrayana Swamy temple in the morning for a procession. The ceremony ends with a ritual sacrifice and vanotstava in the evening. On day 11, the flag that was hoisted on the first day of celebrations is brought down, to mark the conclusion of the festival.