Thursday, December 13, 2012

Groundnut Fair and the Temple Priest

The Groundnut Fair is both a religious and a cultural festival that takes place every year on the Bull temple road in Bangalore and brings groundnut growers and traders from several villages in Karnataka to the city. We started to interview the Groundnut vendors, the Residents of Basavanagudi, the Traffic police and others to understand more about the Fair. I reproduce here a short interview with the Head Priest of the Bull Temple.

When was the Bull temple built?
The temple was built around 1537 A.D. It is said to be built by Kempegowda during his rule.

Why was this temple built, why here in Basavanagudi?
The idol of the Nandi (Bull) in this temple is said to have been that of “udbhava”. They say that the idol was always there, Kempegowda just built the temple. There is another legend that says Lord Nandi appeared in Kempegowda’s dreams and asked him to build a temple in his worship. The idol is 12 ft high, 20 ft in length. It is the second largest Nandi idol in south of India, the first being in Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh.

What about the legend of River Vrishabhavathi flowing under the idol?
If one looks closely at the idol, one can see that the right leg of lord Nandi rests on a veena (the musical instrument). The veena rests on a lotus flower. We know that the lotus flower grows only in water. This water is said to be the water from Vrishabhavathi river. It is said to rise from below the idol. I haven’t been a witness to it, neither has my father or grandfather who’ve been around for around 80 years now .

How did the Ganesha temple come to be? Was it a part of the Nandi temple?
The usual custom is that before starting anything good like say entering a new house, there is usually a ganesha idol placed and worshipped for success and prosperity. Similarly with this temple. Before the Bull temple was built there was probably a Ganesha temple built .

What are the special events at the temple during the Kadlekai Parishe?
Early in the morning there is the Panchamrutha abhisheka. Also, a Rudrabhisheka which involves abhisheka with milk. The nandi idol is totally covered with flowers. On the Monday that the Parishe begins on, in the evening there is “Nandi kolu”.  At 11 pm, there is the Mahamangalarthi.

What is the temple’s involvement in the Parishe?
The temple allocates the space for the vendors outside the temple entrance and along the Bull temple road. The contract for collecting the rent for the space is given out as a tender. The MUZRAI department (Department of Religious Endowment) plays a major role in organising the Parishe. They send us extra staff to handle the parishe.

The support required from various fields is taken into account by the chief executive officer. He writes out letters to different departments which includes the Police force, the Municipal corporation, Ambulance and medicine, Generator and Emergency power supply etc. They all co-operate and work together. The local politicians direct the police force to co-ordinate the event. The Municipal authority (BBMP) plays its role in cleaning of the streets during and after the Fair. Because there is a large crowd visiting the temple during the parishe, we need to add more priests to help maintain the place. Usually I call upon people I know and some from within my family too.

What about the revenue for the temple from the Parishe? What do the vendors pay?
The vendors need to pay some 200-300 rupees per day to the appointed person who has been awarded the tender. The temple gets around 10-15,000 rupees from it.

Do vendors like the coconut seller or the one who manages the shoe stand within the temple premises need to pay a rent for the space?
Yes, it’s more of a yearly contract though. This space is also auctioned and the highest bidder gets it. The shoe or chappal stand itself generates an income of about Rs.2,00,000/- per year.

What are the other roles that the MUZRAI department plays in supporting the temple?
Mainly, all the funds that the temple collects during the Parishe goes to a dedicated account of the temple with the MUZRAI department. They take care of everything from cleaning, maintenance, making new spaces, repairing old structures, granting salaries to the temple employees etc. The Priests and the maintenance staff at the temple are paid their salaries by the MUZRAI department. If say, a temple’s funds are insufficient for it’s own upkeep, then the Muzrai department can actually reach out to another temple’s funds and fund this temple. If any repairs to the old temple structure or new spaces need to be planned, the MUZRAI department works with the Archaeological survey of India to prepare the necessary plans and execute the work .

Interviewer: Rakshitha K.S.

Related Posts:
Groundnut Fair in Bangalore city
Peanut festival in Bangalore
Faces in the Bazaar
Srinivasa Coffee works


Isabel said...

Fascinating insights into the workings of the Kadlekai Parishe!

Mridula said...

And such colorful pictures!

Anjali said...

It was your posts that motivated me to check out the parishe last year and I am glad I did. Now time moved me to Mumbai! Good read and effort!

Indian Bazaars said...

Isabel: It has been quite fascinating to know the behind-the-scenes stories. I am hoping to post next the interview with the Traffic Police.

Mridula: Thanks

Anjali: And, I've now discovered another Mumbai through you. Thanks!

joshi daniel said...

great information :)

Pratishtha Khan said...

Such beautiful pictures. love the colorful baskets...