BENGALURU: Though Sankranti is a harvest festival, it is celebrated in a dozen different ways across the state. At Lalbagh Botanical Garden here on Sunday, hundreds of visitors got a sense of what the kite festival is like in regions of the state such as Bayalu Seema Prantha, Are Malenadu, Mumbai Karnataka, Hyderabad Karnataka, Malnad, Mysuru, Madhya Karnataka and Karavali.
Hosted by the Kannada and Culture Department and the Agriculture Department for the first time in the city, the Suggi Huggi Sankranti Habba drew huge numbers to Lalbagh.
While exhibits of foodgrains, sweet potato, sugarcane, avarekai (hyacinth bean) and peanuts were the mainstay in the stalls from all these regions, specific ethnic aspects like lambanis in their colourful attires with embroidered mirrors were a part of the Madhya Karnataka stall. There were also Kodava men dressed in kupya (a wrap around), a silver dagger tucked into their sash and women in their unique sarees tied in traditional Coorgi style.
Women and Child Development Minister Umashree and Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda started the celebration with Rashi Pooje. From the East Gate of the garden, Sankranti Savari (bullock cart ride) was available for visitors. Drumbeats made for an exhilarating experience for children even as stalls with wooden Chennapatna toys grabbed their attention. Kite flying atop the Lalbagh Rock was a treat for families.
R Krishnaprakash from Frazer Town was there with eight other family members. “Because of a festival like this we can get our children and grandchildren out of the house and away from smartphones and TVs. They don’t know what a harvest festival is like in villages. They haven’t experienced what we did as children. This should be organised in four to five corners of the city simultaneously,” he said as his brother in law Krishnamurthy N S chose a Baahubali kite to fly.
25,000 visit habba
At least 25,000 people visited the habba and were given sweet and khara millet pongal by Akshayapatra and state government.
Minister Byre Gowda and Sri Chanchalapathi dasa, vice chairman of Akshaya Patra Foundation, took part in preparing the dishes. The first serving was made to students from nearby government schools and orphanages.
Another attraction here was Ishwar Naik’s paintings made out of a jute thread. A national award recipient, his ‘Chittara paintings’ originated from Hasuvante village in Siddapura taluk of Uttara Kannada district. “I learnt this art from my mother. It takes minimum of eight days to make a painting on a small greeting card sized paper,” he said.
Will try to host this habba every year: Minister
Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda told The New Indian Express, “Rituals like Kichu Haaysodu will be done in the evening. We are giving city folks an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their traditional roots. We will try to host this every year considering its success.” Asked about millets being promoted at the festival, he said, “For a drought-hit state like Karnataka, millets are a climate smart crop and is drought resistant. For past 15 years, it saw a drop in production but the last year it has been good. 20 lakh hectares are used in the state to cultivate the crop. We want more people to include it in their diet as excessive dependence on rice flour is affecting their health.”