India is always on someone’s list of top Asian countries to visit. Tourists all over the world have been mesmerized by what they hear about the mysticism and religiosity of this overly populated country with one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. It is the second most populated nation in the world next to China, and with a number of observed religions, the Indian culture and traditions promise to be very interesting and mystifying indeed. Culture and festivals in Bangalore, India are abundant and extremely colorful as expected.
Bangalore is the most important city in the state of Karnataka, South India. It is called the “Silicon Valley of India” because it is the heart of the Indian brand of information technology that is famous all over the world. The city is home to the most advanced IT industry in South Asia, developing world-class computer programmers and techies. The city also boasts of its many colleges and research institutions, as well as a number of software companies, telecommunications firms and aerospace industries that are the best in the country. The city’s other nicknames are “Garden City” and “Pensioner’s Paradise”, pertaining to its rich natural resources, pleasant climate and picturesque historical landmarks.
While this is the most highly urbanized Indian city, it has not forgotten its culture and festivals, which link the city with the rest of the country’s traditions and conservative ways. Bangalore culture definitely represents the rest of what the country upholds and clings on. The most important national events in Bangalore are the Karaga, Yugadi, and Kadalekaye Parishe festivals, among many others.
The oldest and most important of these is Karaga, which is a summer festival dedicated to the Goddess Shakti. The celebration involves an evening procession wherein the goddess is carried for 12 miles around the heart of Bangalore. An earthen pot represents the goddess and the procession ends as the pot is immersed in the Sampangi tank. The festival is led by the Thigala men, who claim to be the descendants of the Veerakumaras, an army of soldiers created by Shakti to defeat the Asura (Demon). The goddess promised to be with the soldiers every year during the first full moon of the Hindu calendar’s first month.
The second most highly anticipated festival is the Kannadiga New Year of Yugadi that takes place on the second half of March or early April. Locals look forward to this time of the year since it is the best time to engage in new ventures, new relationships and start a new life. Devotees begin the New Year with ritual baths and prayers, believing that Brahma, the God of Creation, created the world on this day.
Kadalekaye Parishe, on the other hand, is a winter festival that celebrates the first groundnut crop of the year. The festival circles around the Bull Temple, which according to legends was built to appease a rampaging bull that used to destroy local crops. After the temple was constructed, the bull stopped its destructive ways. Peanuts and groundnuts freely flourished in the land and the locals celebrated the first groundnut that spurred. On the temple grounds is a 4.5-feet tall and 6.5-m long, solid granite bull statue that has been worshipped by the farmers for 600 years.
Other expressions of culture and festivals in Bangalore that continue to draw local and foreign tourists are the traditional Lakshmi Puja (or Varamahalakshmi festival), Bangalore Habba, Makara Sankranthi, Mahashivratri, Ugadi, Buddha Jayanti, Naga Panchami, Varamahalakshm, and Ganesh Chaturthi. Most Bangalore festivals are very colorful, loud and religious in nature.