INDIA: The grand celebrations of Asia’s largest four-day tribal festival Medaram Jathara began on February 16, at Medaram village of Mulugu district in Telangana.
The festivities of the First Day of the biennial fair kickstarted as the arrival of Sarakka onto the ‘Medaram Gadde’ (platform) was undertaken by the Koya Tribe of Telangana. The festival is celebrated to revere Adivasi icons Sammakka and Sarakka, considered to be the protectors of the community. It festival is going to end on February 19.
The Jathara is the second-largest fair of India, after the Kumbh Mela, celebrated by the Koya tribe of Telangana. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of ‘Magha’ or February.
The idol of Sarakka, the daughter of Sammakka, is installed in a temple at Kannepalli, a small village near Medaram.
Early in the day, the traditional Koya priests perform rituals on the first day and bring insignia (mix of turmeric and saffron powders) of the goddess Sarakka from Kannepalli and place it on her Gadde (platform) in Medaram. This takes place amidst the musical beats of drums and other traditional instruments being played with devotees dancing around.
In the evening, the insignia of Sammakka’s husband Pagididda Raju is brought by Penka Vaddes (priests) from Punugondla village, Mahbubabad district to Medaram. Similarly, insignias of the idols of Govindaraju, brother-in-law of Sammakka, and Nagulamma, sister of Sammakka are also brought by Dubbagatta Vaddes (priests) from the village Kondayi to Medaram.
The festival organized and celebrated by the Koyas in collaboration with the Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Telangana, sees a huge footfall from different villages and various tribal communities.
This year, the villages of Kannepalli performed ‘Aarti’ and organized grand farewells to Sarakka. After the arrival of the idol of Samakka to Medaram Gaddhe, she is worshipped with special traditional rituals.
The festival that aims to create awareness of Indian tribal cultures, heritage, and festivals is being actively supported and covered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The ministry is also ensuring the preservation and promotion of the various fascinating aspects of the Scheduled Tribes of the state.
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