They expect business to peak on Sunday when temple chariot will move around

Navaratri is also a time for some small entrepreneurs from far and near to erect temporary stalls near select temples hoping to do some good business. You have many of them on either side of Mangaladevi Road. Aimed at the temple crowd, they last as long as the festival. The owners of the mushrooming stalls, come from within Dakshina Kannada and other parts of India, to sell their wares, are now waiting for Sunday, when they expect business to peak as it is the day the “theru” (temple chariot) taken out.

Many of the stall owners move from “jaatre” to “jaatre”, selling to crowds around temples, churches and mosques, during festivals.

Rakesh has been setting up a “Gobi Manchurian” stall for the past five years at Mangaladevi. He goes to various religious “jaatres” such as Dharmasthala and Subrahmanya hawking the snack. According to him, the best business is at St. Lawrence Church, Attur, where he gets buyers during day and night.

He is not worried about other shops selling the same product as there are enough customers. Quick service and seating arrangements give him the edge. “It must be quick. People don’t have time,” he said. In his team of 15, two are cooks and four are dedicated to soliciting customers. The rest are helpers.

Ismail, from Chikmagalur, has parked his van filled with goods of plastic toys, just behind the stall. This year, he paid Rs. 9,000 for 12 feet space for 10 days while he paid Rs. 4,000 last year.

Most of the goods are unbranded and the foodstuff is garishly coloured. There are fresh flowers, toys and trinkets, garments, ladies handbags, stainless and wooden utensils, footwear, imitation jewellery, balloons and eatables. From fake grasshoppers to Angry Birds balloons, a wide array of items attract children.

Farhan Ahmad, from Bantwal, who was selling toys such as miniature plastic JCBs and trumpets, is hoping it does not rain.

It is not gung-ho for all. Vijay Kumar, a cobbler, said his business declines because those in need of repair cannot spot his shop, which gets hidden by stalls on either side.

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