Madikeri Dasara festival is dedicated to Goddess Mariamma. There are four important temples dedicated to Mariamma in Coorg – Kodagu town in Karnataka. The origin of Madikeri Dasara dates back to the reign of Haleri Kings. The current form of the Karaga Festival is more than 120 years old. Madikeri Dasara 2021 is from October 7 to October 15.
Four Goddesses of Madikeri Dasara
· Kote Mariyamma
· Kunduru Motte Chowti Mariyamma
· Dandina Maariyamma
· Kanchi Kamakshi Amma
Each of the Mariamma has a unique Karaga dance. Karaga dance is a ritualistic folk dance dedicated to Mariyamma. It begins on the first day of Navratri.
Karaga is also the term used to refer to the murti of Goddess carried on the head by the temple priest.
Highlights of Karaga Festival
- The priest who takes Karaga dresses in a yellow color dress.
- The head is shaved and he holds a knife and a wooden stick
- Karaga is made using flowers
- The Karagas of the four Mariyamma temples has special pujas.
- Each Karaga performs the dance in their respective temple.
- They also visit homes in Madikeri and give blessings.
Madikeri Dasara Procession
Madikeri Dasara celebrations conclude with a grand procession of dasha mantaps (10 bedecked chariots) in Madikeri town. The procession concludes with a puja at the Banni Mantapa at Mahadevpet.
The highlight of the procession is tableaux based on Hindu scriptures. The best tableaux are rewarded at the end of the festival.
The chariots that participate in the grand procession are :
- Shri Kundurumotte Chowti Maariyamma,
- Shri Dandina Mariyamma,
- Shri Kote Mariyamma,
- Shri Kanchi Kamakshi Amma,
- Shri Kodanda Rama Mandira,
- Shri Chowdeshwari,
- Shri Dechooru Rama mandira,
- Karawale Bhadaga
- Shri Bhagavathi
- Shri Kote Ganapathi.
Gonikoppal a town in Virajpet Taluk in Karnataka is also famous for its Dasara. Gonikoppal is around 50 km south of Madikeri. The festival here is famous for tableaux and decorated cars.