Mangaluru Dasara Festival Ends in a Low-Key Celebration due to Covid-19 Pandemic
- Mangaluru Dasara Festival Ends in a Low-Key Celebration due to Covid-19 Pandemic-Even the Dasara celebration at Mangaladevi Temple lacked grandeur and pomp
Mangaluru: For the first time in the history of world-famed “Mangaluru Dasara” celebrations connected with Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Mangaluru, the grand finale of the nine-day celebration had ended with no procession due to the pandemic – which otherwise every year the procession comprising of a large number of tableaux, tiger dance, people chanting bhajans, dancing and other fun, proceed through the main streets in the city and culminates at the Temple. ‘Mangaluru Dussehra’ since ages has been a veritable festival of devotion and grandeur exhibiting rural arts and culture and the Dasara procession. However, this year, people in and around the city were deprived of the opportunity to witness the fascinating procession and the events taking place at Kudroli Temple and other temples during the Navaratri festival due to the COVID-19 scare.
After the Mysuru Dussehra, Mangaluru Dasara is the most lavishly celebrated Dasara in the State. For decades, the eve of the festival sees preparations in full swing, but this year it was limited only to traditional rituals. The custom of performing ‘Hulivesha’ in front of houses before Navaratri, had been confined to temple premises. The Mangaluru Dussehra/Dasara festival was a platform for showcasing many artisanal attractions from the rural parts of the district and outlying areas. Tens of thousands of attractions, cultural events, food stalls adored every street of the city depicting a microcosm of the countryside, but all this was absent this year due to pandemic.
The celebration of Dussehra is of tremendous significance to the temples such as Kudroli Sri Gokarnanath, Mahatobhara Sri Mangaladevi Temple, Halekote Sri Mariamma Mahishamardhini Temple and Sri Venkataramana Temple. This time, it was made necessary to use sanitizers, wear masks and line up to view the temple deities- and all these conditions/precautions inevitably diluted the Dasara celebration. The most memorable part of the Mangaluru Dasara is the procession of idols of the goddess taken to immersion on the day of Vijayadashami. The procession also sees several tableaus’s accompanied by dancing devotees of all ages. However, this year the procession too was affected by the pandemic. All idols of the goddesses were immersed in the temple premises. However, due to social distancing and to prevent large crowd gathering, the administration of the Sri Mangaladevi temple/Kudroli Temple had informed that the temple rituals during the festival will be broadcast live on the temple’s official Facebook page/live on TV channels in order to reduce the visits of devotees to the temple.
Another major attraction of the Mangaluru Dasara, the ‘doll exhibition,’ held on the grounds of the Sharavu Sri Mahaganapathi Temple for over 11 years, was not held this year. Mangaluru city bustling and lighted streets during this time were also missing this year. Lighting was only being installed from the Kudroli temple to Ladyhill Circle. On Monday 26 October 26, the final day of the nine-day celebration, Visarjana Puja was performed at 6.30 pm at Kudroli temple, followed by bringing out the idols of Lord Ganapathi, nine forms of Goddess Durga and that of Goddess Sharada, from the hall one by one, which commenced from 8.30 pm onwards. After the idols were taken around the temple, they were immersed in the temple pond one at a time.
The idol of Goddess Sharada, which was the last to be taken out, was taken in a procession till the main gate of the temple before it was taken around the temple, at the stroke of midnight (12 am). The mini replicas of Lord Gokarnanatha and Goddess Annapoorneshwari which are known as ‘Bali Murthy’ were given the ceremonial bath. After offering puja to the idol of Goddess Sharada, her idol was immersed in the temple pond during the wee hours of 2 am (Tuesday)-thus bringing the curtain down on the nine-day Mangaluru Dasara celebrations. An added attraction was the spectacular ‘Tiger Dances’ aka ‘Pili Nalike’ by a few Tiger dance troupes, which enthralled the crowd