Karnataka is a vibrant state famous for its grand festivals. Many festivals of Karnataka are conducted in the name of art, religion, seasons etc. The famous Dussera festival of Mysore to Kambala Buffalo race in Mangalore, the state is full of festivals and fiestas. Karnataka is also known for its heritage and culture; the state has a wide range of celebrations that truly keeps the audience off their feet.
Here are few important festivals of Karnataka:
The months of August-September one can witness hundreds of rath yathras on the streets of Karnataka. The 10-days festival is celebrated from the Shukla Chaturthi that lasts till the Anantha Chaturdashi. The streets will be clad with wax and clay models of Ganesha and people offering their prayers to the idols. The 10 days are celebrated with great percussions and poojas with hundreds of people witnessing it. The prasadam offered here is the modak. The Pooja continues for 9 days till the last of Visarjan which is celebrated with great pomp and mind-blowing percussions and processions. For Visarjan, the Ganapati is taken to a river side and then immersed into the water.
Hampi Festival or Vijaya Utsava
The festival is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of an ancient poet Purandaradasa. This festival of Karnataka lasts for 3 days. Vijaya Utsava falls in the month of October or November and is celebrated in Hampi as a grand commemoration. Being a poet’s birthday, the festival is more like showcasing the art and talents of the Kannadigas. The festival is usually accompanied by performances by artists showcasing music, dance and art. Hampi being the cultural center in Karnataka, celebrate these kinds of festivals with great pompous honoring all the artists.
Vijaya Utsava is conducted in the architectural ruins of Hampi on well-decorated stages with the amazing backgrounds of the ruins. The stage hosts multiple shows, with various prominent and upcoming stars.
The festival is celebrated to a day before the Ganesh Chaturthi to pay tribute to the Goddess Gowri for her power to bequeath strength and valor on the people. It is widely celebrated all over India. It is believed that Goddess Gowri returns to her home on that day like a married woman, and the next day Lord Ganesha comes to take her back to home.
During the Pooja, Goddess Gowri is offered a bagina which contains kum kum, turmeric, small mirror, comb, bangles, dal, rice, and coconut.
Karaga is a folk dance performed as a tribute to Draupadi. The ritual is an old festival conducted in Bangalore. The legend says that in the last portion of Mahabharata, Draupadi took the form of Shakti goddess and created soldiers called the veerakumaras to deal with a demon called Tripusara. As Draupadi couldn’t stay for long time, hence she promised to visit her devotees every first full moon as per the Hindu Calendar.
During this festival of Karnataka rich meals are served. A Karaga carrier, a male dressed up as female all covered in flowers walk to meet the Veerakumaras in the Holy deity form. The mystery inside the Karaga is still not known, yet the carrier balances it well. At the end of the festival, the Karaga returns to the temple.
Pattadakal Dance Festival
The Pattadakal festival is conducted to honor the famous temples every year in the month of January. This festival of Karnataka is decked up with the performances of the traditional dancers of the state. Along with these grand celebrations, the craft festival is indeed an attention grabbing one.
The Pattadakal village is located around 20kms from Badami in the state of Karnataka. Pattadakal was the second capital of Chalukyas and has some marvelous constructions. The village is famous for the architectural temples that flaunt the splendid carvings and structures. Most of the temples here are devoted to Lord Shiva. The temples of Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna are located here.
Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola
Karnataka is also a state that lets religions diversity. Shravanbelogola is a major Jain center in Karnataka. The Jain festival Mahamastakabhisheka is celebrating with equal pompous and grandeur in Karnataka. Once in 12 years, the festival takes place with the function of the statue. The statue of Siddha Bahubali is around 17.3736 meters tall.
At first the people who come to the festival are sprinkled with blessed holy water, and then unction of the statue. Many offerings are given at the statue and the statue is bathed in milk, saffron past, sugarcane juice, sandalwood powder etc. The Jain nuns must climb up the stairs to reach the top of the statue. At the end of the celebration, the statue is showered with flowers from the helicopter.
Splashing the mud and racing across the fields, the roaring buffalos raced by a man are an interesting watch. On the first day of Kambala, a parade is conducted with all the buffalos. The buffalos are pegged against each other before the race. The festival is believed to be conducted in the honor of Lord Kadri Manjunatheshwara to seek blessings for better harvest. The festival is usually conducted two days. The sport is majorly conducted by farmers. This local festival of Karnataka is a must watch. Plan your trip to Mangalore during the Kambala race.
The festival symbolizes New Year for Kannadigas. The term Ugadi means new (uge) beginning (adi) or the beginning of the new age. As it is the New Year, people buy and wear new clothes, deck up houses and streets and welcome the New Year with great joy and prayers.
Sankranti or Pongal
Sankranti is Pongal celebrated in Karnataka in the month of January. On this day, people offer Pooja to cattle and feed them. On this day, a special dish called Pongal is prepared and offered to God. The decorated cattle with powerful costumes and painted horns are then made to jump over a bonfire to commemorate the festival. A cattle procession is also conducted.
On Makar Sankranti, people enjoy Kite flying. The festival of Makar Sankranti is conducted as a four-day long festival Bhogi festival, Kanu festival and Kanum Pongal festival.
In the temple of Cheluvanarayana located in Melkote, on the third day of Brahmotsavam, the Vairamudi festival is celebrated. On this day, the statue of Cheluvaraswamy is adorned with diamond studded ornaments and crown that are brought from the Mysore Palace. The festival is usually in the month of March-April and is proceeded by a colorful procession.
The day Karnataka state was formed is celebrated with great grandeur by the people of Karnataka on November 1st every year. This festival of Karnataka is celebrated by people with great enthusiasm. Various Kannada language promotional and cultural activities are conducted during the month of November.
It is a 10-days long festival of Karnataka that is conducted in the city of Mysore with pomp and glory. The Mysore Palace is all decked up and well lit. The cultural extravaganza is witnessed by thousands of people. The well-lit city all decked up to celebrate the Dussera festival is a must visit one. Dance, bands etc. accompany the processions in the streets. This festival of Karnataka is usually celebrated Octobe. On the day of Ayudha Pooja, every one offers Pooja to their tools and seek blessing from the Goddess Durga.
Vara Mahalakshmi Pooja
The goddess of wealth Mahalakshmi is worshiped by Kannadigas on this special occasion. To attain health and wealth, the people offer poojas and offerings to Goddess Lakshmi. It is also for the long life of husbands that married women conduct the Pooja. It falls on the Shravanmasa.