The two words in the title are as far as anybody can imagine...but the commonality is the timing...It is believed that Ozone production is at its highest levels in this season, and hence the early morning sunrays are safest and the most beneficial in Margashira. No wonder then that the traditional practices also promote the same by giving ample opportunities for people to get outdoors early in the day.
Celebrations in Margashira masa:
Typically, large rangolis are drawn in front of the houses (again, early in the morning) and several festivals are celebrated to contemplate God, especially Krishna. It is said that in Gita, Krishna says "I am Margashira masa". And that is exactly why "Gita Jayanthi" is also celebrated in the same month when Bhagavadgita is supposed to have taken birth. A time when Gita, Vedas and Upanishads are re-visited with fervour and chanted in unison. In the olden times, as remembered by my Mother In Law, Goddesses Gowri and Lakshmi were prayed to under the Avare Chappara - A broad beans creeper thicket, this also being the season of Avarekai. The other major festivals celebrated (visibly) are Hanumadjayanthi, Datta Jayanthi and Subbarayana Shashti (also called Skanda shashti and Prathama shashti - I shall explain later the reason for it being called Prathama or first shashti).
So, to summarize the events:
Margashira (Day 6 - Shashti): Subbarayanashashti - at Kukke Subramanya and Sajjanrao circle temple Bangalore
Margashira (Day 11 - Ekadashi): Gita Jayanthi, Vaikunta Ekadashi
Margashira (Day 13 - Thrayodashi): Hanumadjayanthi - at Ragi gudda
Margashira (Day 15 - Full moon): Dattatreya Jayanthi or Datta Jayanthi
Pushya (Day 6 - Shashti): ThuLu shashti - at Ghaati Subramanya
Magha (Day 6 - Shashti): Kumara shashti - at Gonibeedu
Hanumadjayanthi in Bangalore:
Hanumadjayanthi is most prominently celebrated at Ragigudda temple for full ten days. The event would include several pooja, Homa, Havana and unique alankaaras (decorations) to Lord Hanumantha (or Hanuman) every day. On the main day, Lord Hanumatha can be seen in Vajrakavacha - a diamond studded vest. Lakhs visit the Kshethra for the spectacle. The vade-maale (a garland of Vada) can also be seen as a special offering during these days. The evenings are made melancholic at the venue with several famous classical artists adding melody and rhythm. The surroundings of the temple are anything but a mela with all arterial roads packed with street-hawkers selling wares.
Subbarayana Shashti in Bangalore:
A brief history of Subbarayana Shashti:
The legend says that Lord Subramanya, the elder son of Lord Shiva was cursed to be born as Ghata sarpa (a snake - this is not the same as Adisesha, the snake on which Vishnu sleeps). So, his first appearance as a snake occured at the moola sthaLa Kukke Subramanya. However, there was a serpeant eagle hovering above the region. So, Subramanya went into the burrow (Bila) and re-appreared at two places, Ghaati Subramanya and Gonibeedu. Since he first appeared at Kukke, and also because Margashira shashti appears first in the row, the event is celebrated as Prathama Shashti (first). The next celebration happens on the sixth day of the following month, Pushya masa at Ghaati. The last appearance is celebrated on the sixth day of the third month in the series, Magha masa (the day before Rathasapthami) at Gonibeedu. On all the three occasions, Rathothsava (car-festival) is organised by the temple committees and devotees throng the events in lakhs.
I will focus the rest of this blog-post on the event celebrated at the Subramanya Temple at Sajjanrao circle, V V Puram (Vishweshwarapuram), one of the old heritage temples in the city. The temple was conceptualised by Sajjanrao himself, and the evidence of this can still be seen in the form of a statue dedicated to him in the temple. This is the most popular venue in Bangalore for the celebration of Subbarayana Shashti in Margashira masa. A silver ratha (belliteru) or car is used to take the Lord (Uthsavamurthy) around the vicinity. Again, thousands visit the temple all round the day and take part in pulling the ratha. The ratha is taken half distance around the large circle in the first half of the day, and remaining part is completed in the evening.
|Subramanya Temple V V Puram|
|Devotees lined up for darshana|
There is an interesting story told by people about the Subramanya temple. It goes like this: "Devotees were in search of Utsava murthy for the main idol and ended up constructing a new temple. The Utsava murthy was in the possession of a Parsi businessman in Eden!".
|Lakshmi on the temple gopura|
Well, in South Bangalore, a large festival at temple is always accompanied by a Jathre (mela) in the area. So is the Subbarayana shashti. All by-lanes around Sajjanrao circle (which also houses several other famous temples such as those of Lord Venkateshwara, Goddess Kannika Parameshwari or Vasavi, Lord Ayyappa and Lord Sathyanarayana) carry festive atmosphere setting the right mood for a casual day out with spiritual leaning.
|Belliteru with Subramanyaswamy Uthsavamurthy|
|In the procession|
|Belliteru at dusk|
Not to be missed at Sajjanrao circle:
While you are there, following are the most popular things about V V Puram, which is predominantly the home for many Arya-vaishyas.
Avarebele mela: This being a season of Avarekai, Vasavi condiments hosts the Avarebele mela. Every concievable dish with Avarebele is available for you to relish, Avarebele HoLige being the most favoured flavour these days, followed by bhajjis and bondas made of the same beans.
v b bakery: Being at Sajjanrao circle, missing a visit to this age-old bakery is nothing less than a sin. Try their KBC bun (Khara-Butter-Congress) and also all other favourites from Iyengar bakeries. An experience to remember, a taste to cherish.
thindi beedhi (eat street): Come sunset, the place lights up literally with petromaxes from the all the street side food vendor carts serving all favourites...Idli, all varieties of dosas, akki rotti, gunthpanglu, thatte idli, Hot Holige, Hot Jalebi, really thick Badam milk with a layer of thick cream at the top, tikki poori, nippattu masala, and the likes. Also make some place for masala pepsi and Gulkand ice-cream to make sure you don't repent later.
So, having heard so much about the place, you sure want to get glimpses of the event. Here you go.
|Balloon sellers with their wares|
|elated by attention|
Typically Margashira month coincides with December / January month.
In 2015, following are the dates of occurrences:
Subbarayana Shashti, Belliteru 2015: Dec 17, Thursday
Gita Jayanthi: Dec 21, Monday
Vaikunta Ekadashi: Dec 21, Monday
Hanumadjayanthi: Dec 23, Wednesday
Sources: Most of the information are popular beliefs as told by my mother, and in-laws or as understood from the media.
The pictures are from the year 2010 shot handheld with Nikon D50, 18-55 mm lens....jpeg mode!
Thanks for your visit and hope you enjoyed the blog!