One of the oldest and most popular festivals of Bengaluru, the annual Kadalekai Parishe (groundnut mela) at Basavanagudi, will not be held for the first time this year due to the pandemic.
The fair, which boasts of over 480 years of history, will be restricted to the Bull Temple premises and no stalls will be put up on Basavanagudu Main Road.
The Parishe is celebrated on the last Monday of Karthika Masa (December 14 this year) every year and is visited by over six lakh people, buying groundnuts from around 600 farmers and vendors.
Of over 2,500 stalls, many also sell food, toys, and clothes.
Almost 100 years ago, Basavanagudi was surrounded by Guttahalli, Mavalli, Dasarahalli and other villages, where groundnut was grown abundantly.
Legend has it that a bull would arrive on every full moon night and eat the groundnut. Farmers then prayed to Nandi (Lord Shiva’s vehicle) and pledged to donate their first crop. In 1537, Bengaluru founder Kempegowda constructed the temple for Dodda Basava where Basavanagudi stands now.
Since then, farmers from surrounding villages, and even Tamil Nadu, started coming each year to offer their annual produce. But this year, BBMP and state endowments department have decided not to hold the festival as it could trigger a spike in Covid cases.
Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya told The New Sunday Express that the, Kadalekai Parishe will not be organised as before.
“Lakhs of people visit the Parishe, which means that they are risking their lives and also others. There is a danger of them carrying the virus back home. The health and safety of local people too should be considered,’’ he said.
Officials will appeal to people through media, not to visit the Parishe.
“People start gathering in before the festival and stay here for some days after wards. We will depute BBMP and police personnel so that if any vendors come to set up stalls, they will be vacated’’ the MLA said.
He, however, reiterated that the ritual will continue as usual, but will be restricted to the Dodda Ganapati and Dodda Basava temples.