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Karaga is an iconic annual festival celebrated in Bengaluru, specially by Thigalas community who were formerly lake-settlers & gardeners way back in the 17th century. This festival stands as remembrance of contemporary socio-cultural backdrop. Festival is a reconnect with the geography and cultural history of Bengaluru.

The Karaga festival is generally led by the men of the community. There is a legend which gives them this privilege. Thigalas believe that in the last part of the Mahabharatha, when the Pandavas were shown a glimpse of hell, one last Asura (Demon) called Tripurasura was still alive.

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The Karaga is a pot on which is a floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier's head. The Karaga leaves the historic Dharmaraya Swamy Temple around midnight. The goddess is brought for the darshan of the devotees from the temple on the head of the Karaga-bearer. Karaga is expertly balanced on the carrier's head. The carrier, in his temporary avatar as Draupadi, goes to the houses of the veerakumaras where their families perform pooja to the Karaga.

30222052_917285445115340_3151690419629195264_n.jpg Pic: Dharmaraja Temple - Bengaluru

Traditionally, the festivities begin with the recitation of mantras (incantations) and the hoisting of a ceremonial flag on the banks of Bengaluru’s Sampangi tank. On the seventh day Hasi-Karaga (tender Karaga) is brought from a salt water pond near the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple. Legend has it that Karaga carrier while in deep meditation in the waist deep water in the pond suddenly feels a weight on his head. Holding the object like he would a baby, he goes to the Sampangi tank. Then the object is brought back to the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple and placed next to the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple and placed next to the idol of Dharma. At this point it becomes the Karaga.

Karaga festival is a series of events like: Dwajarohana , Shuddi Karya, Aarathi Utsava, Potharaja Gavoo, Vasanthothsava

Historical Backdrop: it is said that Draupadi(the community deity of the Vahnikula Kshatriyas), wife of the Pandavas, created an army of soldiers called Veerakumaras (hero sons) to kill a demon Timirasura. When it was time for Draupadi to go to heaven, the soldiers requested her to stay back. Draupadi, it goes, promised to visit Earth every year on the full moon of the first month of the Hindu calendar. Draupadi is worshipped as an incarnation of Adiparashakti and Parvathi, which is said to have been the result of a boon granted to her by Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma, for her to have five husbands. Her visit marks the nine-day festival which culminates in the Karaga where Draupadi is worshipped as aadishakti.

Other Version:
 Mysore maharaja invited scholars to establish the scriptural basis of the karaga performance. “kara,” meaning “hand,” and “ga,”meaning “that which is held.” Since the Karaga — which refers to a water pot in Kannada

Conclusion:
 The Karaga is an annual celebration of her as the ideal woman and of woman-power (Mother Goddess). One must experience this eye catching festival which generally falls in the month of March-April every year in the heart of bengaluru.

Courtest: Wikipedia, Bengaluru karaga

Cheers
 Kiran K Adharapuram