Tribal fair brings festival frenzy

Tribal fair brings festival frenzy
Highlights

Keslapur village of Indravelli mandal in Adilabad district is gearing up to host the Nagoba Jatara, the second biggest tribal festival in Telangana, popularly known as Girijan Kumbh Mela, where over a million devotees are expected to take part. 

Keslapur village of Indravelli mandal in Adilabad district is all set to witness a surge of about a million devotees from across many States as the famed four-day Nagoba Jatara begins on January 27

Adilabad: Keslapur village of Indravelli mandal in Adilabad district is gearing up to host the Nagoba Jatara, the second biggest tribal festival in Telangana, popularly known as Girijan Kumbh Mela, where over a million devotees are expected to take part.

The tribal fair which has a history of 100 years begins on January 27, attracting devotees from Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, besides Telangana. They worship the presiding deity Nagoba and fulfill their vows.

The presiding deity of Keslapur temple is Seshanag (Serpent God) with a stone image. The Jatara is held during Pushya masam and the beginning of Magha Masam. Seshanag temple, also called as Adisesha mandir, is located on the banks of the Pranahita River where it merges with river Godavari.

The legend of the temple is associated with the famous Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara Swamy Temple located in Karimnagar district. Preparations for the famous Nagoba Jatara, the pilgrimage-cum-fair, of the Gond tribes of Mesram clan commences when a group led by five priests or ‘Kathodas’ takes the holy dip in Godavari river.

Mancherial Collector and ITDA PO Karnan told The Hans India that special invitations had been sent to the Collectors of Adilabad, Nirmal and Asifabad to attend the ‘darbar’ to be conducted on the last day.

The event begins with ‘Abishekam’ of the Nagadevata and special pooja using the Godavari water. On these days tribals belonging to the Mesram community sing and dance with the hope that their families would be happy with peace and prosperity.

Only the Mesram community people coming for the jatara in thousands offer worship to Nagoba, Mesra Naganath, one of the organisers told The Hans India.

He said those performing puja were called ‘Katodalu’ and that the Mesram community had 22 sects, seven among them with surnames of Madavi, Marsalola Madivi, Marsakola, Purka, Mesram, Hedma, Pandra and Purvetha. They are identified as Mesram ‘vamshiyulu’ who worship seven deities.

Girijans representing these sects compulsorily attend the jatara. They are divided into 17 sub-sects based on their avocations and strictly follow traditions. They begin the journey to Keslapur 16 days before the jatara on the ‘Pushyamasa Pournami’ walking 120 km to fetch sacred Godavari water, according to Mesram Anand Rao, another organiser.

Interestingly, only 22 hearths are arranged to cook food for the participants, with the community representatives taking turns to complete the task. The food is offered to Nagoba as ‘naivedyam’. The others have the option of cooking wherever they want.

Newly-married brides make it a point take the darshan of Nagoba. They are made to worship the deity before being introduced to the gathering during ‘beting kiyeval’ (introduction to god). Those who are not attending this event are treated as banished by god, according to Madavi Bujang Rao, a local.

The darbar organised under the supervision of the Collectors of four districts has a history of 63 years, beginning in 1942 by famous human relations professor Hymondorf. It is attended by the community elders, leaders of the various sects and people’s representatives.

Girijan organisations want the government to develop the Nagoba temple as a tourist spot and allot special funds for the construction of the ‘mahagopuram’. They also seek cottages for the benefit of devotees to be built along with a museum. Leader Mesram Tirupati told The Hans India that facilities like water, free meals and latrines should be provided to the visitors.

The Adivasis enjoy the event for four days, riding their bullock-carts, in gay abandon. Nagoba is the presiding deity of the Mosram community, which believes that if worshipped he will shower them with wealth fulfilling their wishes.

The Nagoba Jatara has a historic background. During the Nizam’s regime, a Nagoba ‘darbar’ was launched, paving the way for finding solutions to problems faced by Girijans.

The District Collector continues the tradition of holding the darbar, which becomes a forum for redressing grievance of the participants by officials. After the formation of Telangana State the event is being organised as a State festival, with active participation of Ministers in the darbar.

By Thotla Chinna Anjaiah

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