Panel to be set up to decide on Karaga celebration

It will decide if festivities should be restricted to pujas in temple or procession can be taken out

The historical Bengaluru Karaga is synonymous with the city’s culture, with a history of over 300 years. With several COVID-19 restrictions in place, a decision on how the Karaga is to be celebrated this year will be taken based on the report to be submitted by the festival committee.

The festivities are likely to begin on April 19 and end with a grand procession through the city’s thoroughfares on April 27. However, it is unclear if it would be celebrated with the usual pomp and splendour.

On Monday, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban) J. Manjunath, MLA Uday Garudachar, MLC P.R. Ramesh and others met to discuss the modalities for the festival.

Mr. Gupta told reporters later that in the absence of a committee in the Sri Dharmarayaswamy Temple, a B category temple under the Muzrai Department, the Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban) had been directed to constitute a festival committee.

“The panel, which will include prominent leaders belonging to the Tigala community, will look into whether the celebrations should be restricted to the ceremonial puja within the temple or if a procession could be taken out,” he said and added that the committee is expected to submit its report in seven to 10 days’ time.

Last year, the celebrations were restricted to pujas within the temple, since it was held during the 21-day national lockdown. It was said to be the first time in Karaga’s history that the grand procession had to be cancelled.

Mr. Gupta said the government’s restrictions on protests, large gatherings etc. would be in force till April 20. “However, the government may take a call on imposing further restrictions if the COVID-19 positive cases increase, in the interest of public health,” he added.

Mr. Manjunath said the term of the festival committee will end with the Karaga. He said while there was a demand for the procession, the committee will recommend how the historical festival should be celebrated.

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