A Taste Of India - Karnataka

From the elements of Tamil Nadu, we travel on to the state of Karnataka. We have been moving for a while now, but we don’t lose any momentum with time. For those of you who may feel a little weary, there’s no need to fret, because today we talk on a topic that is always synonymous with joy; festivals! Karnataka is a state with a rich history and unique intermingling of religions, and hence the festivals here are quite interesting. They’re colorful, loud and overflowing with exuberance. We wouldn’t want it any other way. So, here’s a look at some of the particularly intriguing festivals of Karnataka.

Hampi Festival

Photo courtesy of Malligi

Hampi is a village in Karnataka that can boast of a variety of historic remains and temples. The village itself is enough to leave a photographer enthralled, with its structures carved out of rocks interspersed with the local flora. However, when one visits it during the festival, one is in for a whole new experience. The three day festival is filled with high-energy dances, fireworks, whimsical puppet shows and a grand procession on the last day.

Mysore Dasara Festival

Photo courtesy of Wade G Burck

The Mysore Dasara festival is an event that gathers people from all over the world. Held at the palace of the Mysore royal family, it is a ten day festival with the tenth day being the most auspicious. According to Hindu mythology, it is the day Goddess Chamundeshwari defeated the demon Mahishasura and is hence celebrated on a large scale.  Perhaps the most entertaining part of this day is the procession held around the city. Beautifully decorated elephants carry the royal family along with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari. This act is followed by dance performances, music and acrobatics that leave the viewer completely enthralled.

Nagaradhane

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

India has always been stereotyped as a land of snake charmers (which has always amused me), and it is probably festivals like such that reinforce the misconception. Snakes have always held a place of importance in Indian mythology, and are often associated with Gods. Parts of Karnataka acknowledge their importance by festivals of snake worship. Large, elaborate and colorful serpent designs are made on sacred grounds, with priests dancing around it. 

Bengaluru Karaga

Photo courtesy of Amoghavarsha JS

Karaga is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in Karnataka. It is a procession that takes place in Bangalore (Bengaluru) to worship the Goddess Adishakti Draupadi. The people believe that the festival is when the Goddess showers her blessings on all, and hence gather on the roads to pray to her as the procession passes by. The procession itself is quite a sight to witness, with people dressed to emulate the Goddess holding a mud pot with floral embellishment on the head walking beside large, heavily decorated floats.

It can be correctly deduced that if you want to witness and capture an explosion of light, color and movement; you need to witness an Indian festival. And if you do so in Karnataka, you can be sure it’s going to be a grand one.