After two years, the famous ‘Bengaluru Karaga 2022’ was to begin on a grand note from Sri Dharmarayaswamy temple at Thigalarpet (Kalyanapuri) early on Sunday morning. But the procession had not started at the time of going to press at 1.30 am. Poojari V Jnanendra Vahnikula Gowda was carrying the Karaga for the 11th consecutive year. It is believed that one who witnesses it will be relieved of their sins for seven incarnations.
A large crowd gathered to watch the mega event, ‘Draupadi devi Karaga Shaktyotsava’ and ‘Sri Dharmarayaswamy Maha Rathotsava’ on Chaitra Purnima Day as per the Hindu calendar. As the myth has it that Draupadi Devi will descend on earth three days a year, the goddess is invoked in the poojari and he made to wear bangles. Arjuna kalyanotsava (Draupadi’s wedding to Arjuna) was also performed at the Godhuli Lagna in the evening. The Karaga began after various rituals. Karaga means ‘Kaiyalli muttade, Rundadalli dharasi, Gathisuvudu’ (carrying the deity on the head without touching it and walking) said former temple trustee and Agnikula Vahnikula Kshatriya Mahasangh president Dr K Lakshmana.
The BBMP had allocated Rs 50 lakh to temple authorities for the festivities. A tight security was in place, CCTVs were installed and BBMP health staff were deputed along the procession route. The procession that began from Sri Dharmarayaswamy temple was to pass through 38 km of illuminated stretches around the city and reach the temple back by Sunday morning. Over the last two years, the Karaga, which has a history of over 900 years, was celebrated within the temple premises without allowing any crowds, because of the Covid situation.