VELLORE: For a large number of less privileged people who had participated in the annual community biryani festival at Dholapalli village on Wednesday, it turned out to be a memorable occasion.
The small village situated around 35 km from Vellore, close to the national highway near Agaramcheri, received media attention only on this day. People representing all religions and communities, cutting across the social and economic status, received biryani as part of the village festivity for a whole day.
Braving the scorching heat, the villagers relished the food under a make-shift shed close to the temple, much to the delight of the villagers hosting it.
The festival was hosted in a grand manner as it was a get-together for over 200 families that had migrated to other States such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, years ago, in search of jobs and had emerged successful. Most of these migrated families have become rich and shared the entire expense of the festival.
“We visit the village once a year and do not miss the festival, because on this occasion we contribute something to make others happy,” said Subramani, a native of the village who is now settled in Bengaluru.
“Gangai Amman is our family deity who has been helping us prosper in many ways and we want everyone who participated in the festival to receive her blessings through good food,” he added.
An estimate of 500 kg of mutton and 600 kg of chicken were cooked in addition to the different varieties of rice-based food items that were fed to the visitors and devotees who thronged the temple premises since morning. The migrant families also had brought a team of cooks and other materials from Bengaluru and other places so there would be no pressure on the locals. This year the organisers of the festival arranged buffet system to feed the community.
“This is the only village in the entire district or perhaps in the State which does something unique like offering mouth-watering biryani to all the guests, irrespective of their social background,” remarked Somi, a narikurava leader who has been visiting the festival for the past five years.
“Usually, when a festival is organised in the villages, especially during the summers, as has been the custom here, the individual households invite their friends and relatives and give biryani, which is considered special on the occasion. What makes this festival unique is that the food is offered to all the visitors round the clock,” he added.
According to trustees of the Tirupati Gangai Amman temple in the village, this biryani festival is organized every year for the past 46 years without fail.
The festival also hosted other events such as ‘koozh varthal’, procession of the ‘sirasu’, fireworks etc. Everyone left the place contented.