Visit: Jaathre – Ratha Saptami

And so, it happened on Ratha Saptami.

NammaShaale is located in the northeastern fringes of Bangalore and there is still a whole lot of nice ‘rural’ events that happen in the area – like Santhes (‘shantis’), Jaatres (‘village/temple fairs’) etc. The whole area is full of villages – great green orchards (mango/guava/sappota),  rippling raagi fields, interlinked lakes and cattles grazing on the emerald grass and ‘weeds’ that abound and lustily bellowing… There is a significant bit of bird wealth too – all of which are waiting to be ‘developed.’ Bangalore is rapidly and imminently coming to the places near us, this is what we tell ourselves…

One such ‘rural’ event happened on 2nd February, 2009 – and not wanting to miss the chance, we jumped into the school buses and cars and went for it

There is this little known ‘Anjaneya Devasthaana’ in the nearby Bilishivale village, that has been around for the past 150 years or so – folk memory which is undocumented and that which is purely dependent on the  selective memory of a few oldmen,  makes history slip into the realm of legends. But that’s what we seem to have here. I talked to a few elderly folks to piece together a few details about the temple and the fair.

Apparently, around 150 years back or so, a farmer chanced upon an idol of Hanuman, when he was ploughing his fields – and the slightly damaged icon was ‘installed’ in a makeshift shed and once-in-a-week kind of worship started for the icon. Around the time of independence, a jaatre was beginning to get organized (and every year on Rata Saptami day (seventh day of the Indian month – Megha) when the ‘north bound journey’ of the Sun is on its way from winter Solstice) by the local villages, at the premises of the temple.

The temple continues to be surprisingly small and desolate – still nestled amongst the ubiquitous mango orchards. but the jaatre attracts some  50000 to 70000 people/pilgrims every year. Some 250 odd makeshift shops/stalls (mostly put up by folks professing Islam) are routinely put up, selling all kinds of trinkets and eatables, for a day. Whoever visits the temple on this day, can have a free lunch (‘prasaada’) sponsored by the local folks. On this occasion, all the way from the Hennur-Bagalur Road to the temple is dotted with free buttermilk and ‘thindi’ stalls. The whole Bilishivale village (of some 300 houses) owns the function and it is nice to see a bunch of local youth/volunteers handling all the gazillion issues and details of organizing such an event with aplomb. Folks come in tractors to buses to cycles – from all the nearby villages – and we even chanced upon our friends from Chockanahalli – the village our erdkinder went to last year, to conduct a anthropological study!

Of course, for the children of NammaShaale, it was a novel experience mingling with the milling crowds. shopping for trinkets (each child was given some money, assigned to a group and then each group of five or so  children to an adult from schoo;), getting tattoed, going on a merry-go-around, gorging on tender coconuts, bargaining (and more bargaining) for trinkets etc etc. It was fun. All in all, we spent close to 2 hours out there and it was with much difficulty that we chaperoned all the children back to school. They ‘simply’ didn’t want to leave the fair grounds… *phew*

Here are a few pics shot by the Demiofficial Photographer of NammaShaale – Ms Pratima.

some primary children, Smt Yellamma in the background (smiling)

some primary children, Smt Yellamma in the background (smiling)

milling crowds...

milling crowds...

 

elementary children showing off their 'tattoos'

elementary children showing off their 'tattoos'

Its truly elementary, Mr Watson…

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Comments

  • Bharthi  On February 16, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Dear ramjee,
    Thanks you for sharing the information, i was told by jathin & karan that they had a good time at the santhe.
    Regards,
    bharthi.

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