Karaga Festival, Bangalore is the city's oldest and most important festival. So it is always a good idea to plan your tour to Bangalore during this festival.
Karaga Festival in Bangalore is an instance of fine blend of mythology and folklore. Karaga is the celebration of India's traditionally rich culture and heritage. Karaga Festival, Bangalore traces its history back to more five centuries and the credit of keeping it alive till date goes to the Tigala community. One of the special attractions of the festival is the nightlong procession where thousands of devotees respond to the beating of drums and to the cries of dikdhi and Govinda.
It is celebrated to worship Goddess Shakti. The Karanga or the pot bearer carries the earthen pot on his head for 12 miles before immersing it in the Sampangni Tank.
Hundreds of bare chested youths clad in dhotis and turbans called veerakumaras participate in the Karaga Festival in Bangalore. Each one of them is required to brandish a sword. Again, only a member of the Tigala community is eligible to be a veerakumara.
The veerakumaras dance as they walk on fire striking the swords on their bare chests. In the process if blood comes out, then these people are disqualified from the rituals. The Karaga carrier then emerges from the temple carrying the Karaga perfectly balanced on his head. He is surrounded by men holding swords on all sides. If the Karanga loses his balance and falls he will be stabbed to death. This is extremely gruesome, but fortunately this has never happened.
Karaga Festival, Bangalore has a very interesting trait. It is a secular festival in the sense that people of all creed and community participate here. Every year the Karaga procession halts in front of the Dargah-e-Shariff of Hazrat Takwal Mastan who was an 18th century muslim saint. Legend says it that once Hazrat was severely injured while being an audience to the Karaga procession. He was treated by the temple priests who applied vermilion to his wounds. Hazrat was so overjoyed that he prayed to Draupadi that the procession should halt at his grave after his death. This has been maintained since then.