The Original Bangalore Habba
The Sampangiramnagar Tank was one of the most important irrigation facility in pre-industrial Benglur. The tank is gone, but a small stepped pond is still maintained for the annual Bangalore Karaga. Next to the pond is a covered platform where the Karaga, that is carried from temple to temple by man, who is said to become Draupadi from the Mahabaratha for that day, is placed for making offerings to the Goddess. Here, the residents of Sampangiramnagar are seen decorating the platform for the Puja that happened at 5am this morning.
Several of the residents are planning to spend the night here and help with the preparations. Here's a resident called Shiva, in a Vishnu pose, happy to have taken up a prime position to catch the action.
I was unable to catch the action at 5am. And by the time I reached the place at 9, the whole area was barricaded and littered with flowers. The BBMP Sweepers were cleaning the surrounding ground and luckily for me, there was one major attraction waiting for me. The giant reptile that was painted was partially gone and there stood a self-styled god man with a long name starting with Baba and ending with Sanjeeva Reddy.
From the Khumb Mela to any Urs in a Dargah, you find hundreds of these godmen peddling their idea to salvation. Unlike the Art of Living with its patented exercise or the Hugging Mother from Kerala, this travelling god man was peddling his own idea that hasn't been a hit yet. He's originally from Bidar and has no known home. He also claimed to be immortal. He claimed to be Jesus, Vishnu, Shiva as well as India's ex-presidents Sanjeeva Reddy and Abdul Kalam. A rather tall claim which probably explains why he's not successful.
So if you are in Bangalore and if you want to catch one of the city's unique festivals, and meet some interesting people, head for the main Karaga procession. It's on the 9th of April, all night, in the Pete area.