An auction of agricultural produces took place at Mangaladevi Temple on Sunday evening, drawing a small crowd. They were used to decorate the chariot of Mangaladevi for ‘lakshadeepotsava'

An auction of agricultural produces took place at Mangaladevi Temple on Sunday evening, drawing a small crowd. The vegetables and fruits were auctioned after being a part of the decorations of the “theru” (ratha or chariot) of Mangaladevi for the “lakshadeepotsava” (festival of a lakh lights), said Shrinivas Aithal, a priest at the temple. Some people consider the fruits and vegetables as blessed and buy them even at up to four times the original price, he said.

The auctioneer could be seen calling out the prices of various produce there. “Ananas, irva, nalpa, yalpa, yappathu, yambathu, ombathu, tombathu aidu...” he said, quoting the price for two pineapples.

G. Madhukar Shet, who works as a supervisor and purchase personnel in a supermarket, bought two “sauthekais” (cucumbers) for Rs. 40. He said he bought them (though it is available at Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 in the market) because he considers it special as they were tied to the pillars of the chariot. He said that it was possible that the fruits and vegetables were the choicest. He said another person bought 17 tender coconuts for Rs. 245 though it was available for Rs. 150 to Rs. 175.

“Thoranas” (decorations that are used at the doorways) for the chariots are made of agricultural produce. A few in advance, fruits, and vegetables are collected at the temple from various villages. It takes one full day to decorate the chariot and three days for other accompanying work. An “utsavmurthi” (an image) of the goddess is seated within the chariot, which vends its way in a procession (meravanige) from the temple to Marnamikatta, Morgan's Gate, Jeppu Market, and returns to the temple. The procession took place on Saturday, said Mr. Aithal.