Telangana's Jatara deserves UNESCO tag: Experts

However, a large number of people repose immense faith and continue to congregate once in two years.
Devotees in large numbers have started arriving in Medaram village ahead of Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara scheduled to begin from February 5. (Photo| EPS)
Devotees in large numbers have started arriving in Medaram village ahead of Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara scheduled to begin from February 5. (Photo| EPS)

HYDERABAD: If the Sammakka-Saralamma jatara gets UNESCO recognition, it will help in placing the event on the global tourism map. It will also help generate local employment as increased number of tourists would result in businesses such as transport, hotels and souvenir shops among others, according to officials.

Experts and officials recalled that the UNESCO had recognised nine events of heritage value in the country - Durga Puja (2021), Kumbh Mela (2017), Nouruz (2016), Yoga (2014), Ramlila (2008) and others. “The tribal jatara is no way less important compared to these intangible heritage events and falls within the UNESCO’s ‘Social practices, rituals and festive events’ - one of the five main domains of the organisation,” officials opined.

The Sammakka-Saralamma jatara has no temple built except for two poles and some traditional tribal rituals. However, a large number of people repose immense faith and continue to congregate once in two years. The officials and experts pointed out that the famous tribal fair - Sammakka-Saralamma jatara, which dates back to the 13th century, is a unique intangible heritage event that richly deserves the UNESCO tag.

The fair has got all the pre-requisites for bestowing international recognition - traditional and contemporary at the same time, inclusive, representative and community-based. The same clan that belo-nged to Medaraju is conducting the festivities till date.

The jatara witnesses one of the largest human congregations in Asia. It is both antique and modern. The thick forest that turns into a sea of humanity is a spectacle to behold. It still retains its age-old charm that has been attracting people from big cities. For them, it is both a pilgrimage trip which also serves as a break from hustle and bustle of life.

The Kakatiya Heritage Trust founded by retired IAS officer B V Papa Rao and retired NIT professor M Panduranga Rao brought out a coffee table book titled “Goddess of folk - Sammakka-Saralamma Jatara” in 2016 collecting rare photographs from 1950 to 2016. The trust in collaboration with the State government has secured UNESCO tag to historic Ramappa temple recently.

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