'Medaram Jathara', mega tribal festival, starts in Telangana

The four-day mega tribal festival, 'Sammakka Saralamma Maha Jathara' or 'Medaram Jathara', started in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district of Telangana today.

The state government's website describes the festival, held every two years at Medaram village in Tadvai mandal, deep inside forests, as the largest tribal religious gathering in the world.

In-charge District Collector R V Karnan told PTI that the opening day has already seen a footfall of over 10 lakh, and some 15 lakh people are expected to visit through the day.

"Over 1 crore devotees are expected to visit the festival this year. Over the past one week over 50 lakh people have already visited," he said.

During the Jathara, declared a state festival by the Telangana government, tribal devotees offer obeisance to goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Saralamma.

As per the folklore, the festival commemorates the fight of Sammakka and Saralamma against the oppression of Kakatiya rulers.

On the first day, arrival of Saralamma on the 'Medaram Gaddhe' (platform) is celebrated. The second day marks the arrival of Sammakka.

Over 10,000 policemen have been deployed for security, collector Karnan said.

Tribal devotees from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Jharkhand, among other states, attend the festival.

White jaggery is the traditional offering made to the two deities. Devotees often offer their own weight in jaggery to Sammakka and Saralamma.

They also take a holy bath in Jampanna Vagu (stream).

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao would visit Medaram and offer prayers to the deities on February 2.

A temporary folk museum and amphitheatre has been put up by the government at the festival site for display of folk arts.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)