Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy and several other leaders on Friday visited the ongoing 'Medaram Jatara', a mega tribal festival in Telangana, and offered prayers to the goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma. As per tradition, Reddy offered jaggery, popularly known as 'Bangaram' (gold), equal to his weight.
Several state ministers, including Gangula Kamalakar, T Srinivas Yadav and E Dayakar Rao, also visited the 'jatara'. Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta also took part in the festival. The historic four-day 'Sammakka Saralamma Jatara' began at Medaram village in Mulugu district of Telangana on Wednesday with participation of thousands of devotees.
During the biennial 'Medaram Jatara', declared a state festival by the Telangana government, devotees offer obeisance to Goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Saralamma at Medaram which is located in a forest area. As per folklore, the festival commemorates the fight of Sammakka and Saralamma against the oppression of Kakatiya rulers.
The Adivasis living in forest fringe habitations in several states along the Godavari river congregate once in two years to celebrate the valour of their kin Sammakka and Saralamma. They treat them as goddesses and hail their bravery in trying to protect them.
On the first day, the traditional arrival of Saralamma on the 'Medaram Gaddhe' (platform) was celebrated, while the second day (Thursday) marked the arrival of Sammakka. The jatara will culminate with 'Vana Pravesham' ritual on Saturday. Jaggery is the traditional offering made to the deities. The devotees offer jaggery of their weight considering it to be gold. They also offer red blouse pieces, vermilion, and turmeric to the deities in large quantities. They take a little part of the same as prasadam from the altar back to their homes, officials said. They also take a holy dip in Jampanna Vagu (stream).
Large number of devotees from Telangana and other states, including Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, are thronging the remote hamlet bursting at the seams once in two years during the festival. The state government has made elaborate arrangements, including security, for the smooth conduct of the festival.
With PTI Inputs