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We are natives of Bantwal. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Bantwal you get to know and be a part of lot of festivals. Bantwal being a small town, the kind of crowd that comes there is usually known. It is usually the family and friends of the townspeople that come to the town during such festivals and the annual town’s festival (Teru). As far as I am concerned I know people only by their face. I do not know who is from whose family and related to whom. Compared to my friends I am like a stranger in my own town.
In Bantwal during Dasara, Sharada idols are kept in the Venkataramana Temple courtyard till the time of Visarjan. The idol will be dressed in a different ‘avatar’ each day. The visarjan day is a particularly enjoyable event. It takes place in the night and there will be a huge procession following which the idol is submerged in the Nethravathi river. People will be dressed as mythological characters and be placed on the back of a truck (tableau) decorated as a scene from mythology. For example there will be Lord Narasimha clawing open Hiranyakashipu’s heart while Prahlad will be singing some bhajan. There will be a dozen different tableau each with a different scene and different characters. And each year will be different from the last. Some of the trucks have “huli vesha” and other “vesha” (such as Anarkali in which men simply dress up and dance, Shardula which is the lion vesha, Karadi for bear, and so many other, vesha=people dressed up and painted as something/someone else). It’s always the men who put the vesha. Their bodies are painted on the first day of Dasara and kept on till the last. No bathing in between. They go from house to house, shop to shop and temples, dance and get some money in return. There used to be so many “vesha” during my childhood. These days you hardly get to see any. Over the years, the idol too has lost the charm it had some 10 years ago, as in, the idols were more beautiful before. The procession takes place with lots of music and dance and lasts for about 3 to 4 hours. Sadly I do not have pictures of them.
The celebration is similar in Mangalore. But since Mangalore is a big city, the goddess idols are placed in most of the temples there. Photography is prohibited these days inside the temple and hence I do not have any pictures of the goddess from different places.Below is one taken during the procession near Urwa Market, Mangalore.
The videos below are those of Anarkali and Huli Vesha from the procession near Urwa Market, Mangalore. The quality isn’t too good and I couldn’t capture the whole dance 😛
Kudroli temple also has these idols placed but instead of one idol, here there are multiple idols and each with a different avatar of the goddess. This has always been there but in the last couple of years the celebration in Kudroli is being staged as being a competition to Mysore Dasara. The lighting and grandeur are getting bigger and better year after year. Following are a few pictures from Kudroli. Most of them were clicked last year.
The idols are placed such that 5 idols are on either side of the hall with Sharada in the center. Below are a few pictures of the temple courtyard.
The picture below is just to show the Ganges flowing from Shiva’s locks. There are four Shiva idols depicted on all four corners of the pond and Ganges flows from all four of them. The picture above is when the water has been turned off.
A Punyakoti Vana (vana=forest) depicts the story of Punyakoti. As you may know Punyakoti is the cow who wanders off from her herd when they go grazing on a hill. At nightfall she realizes she has wandered off and makes her way home. She is stopped by a hungry tiger which threatens to eat her. Punyakoti pleads with the tiger to go home so that she can feed her calf and promises to come back once she is done. She only wants to go home, tell her calf and her friends to take care of her calf while she is gone. The tiger obliges and lets her go. Punyakoti gets home, feeds her child and comes back to the waiting tiger. The tiger is overcome by grief because he did not trust her enough to come back. So he apologizes to the cow and jumps off the cliff and ends his life. The whole of this story is depicted in this place with scenes such as the one above.