RAYAGADA: Rayagada town wore a festive look ahead of Pongal, a harvest festival, which is celebrated with pomp and gaiety by the Telugu community.Rayagada is a melting pot of cultures and the Telugu community is the most dominant here with major businesses owned by it. On the first day of the festival, bullocks and carts will be decorated with garlands, smeared with turmeric paste and vermilion.
A rally will be organised with the well-decorated bullocks and carts in various areas of the district. Its objective is to spread the message of love, brotherhood and communal harmony.As bullocks play a major role in agriculture, they are worshipped and served cakes called ‘chakkara pongal’, which is prepared with new rice, jaggery, milk and sugarcane.
In the wee hours of Monday, the community would burn wood collected from various sources. The ritual symbolises protection from evil influences. Several tribal families too celebrate the festival with gusto. Colourful ‘rangolis’ adorn the courtyards of their houses during the festival, which lasts for three days.