Amid the breathtaking changes, certain pockets in the country’s IT capital still retain their rich rural traditions. Come May-June, many old areas organise ooru habbas (village fests), which are celebrated with pomp and splendour.

On Wednesday, one such was organised at Sarakki. Pandals were erected in almost all the narrow cross roads here, and scrumptious food was served free for everyone.

The first day of the five-day, biennial festival saw more than 5,000 people turn up. They were not just local communities but also people from across the city.

The former mayor and local councillor S.K. Nataraj said: “As part of the festival, we pray to the 40 different deities, our grama devatas, to protect the land. Earlier, when the area was largely agrarian, people used to pray for a good harvest.”

He said that at the end of the festival, the 40 grama devatas are taken out in a procession known as Hoovina Pallakki. “The procession begins early in the morning and goes on till late in the night. The deities are taken to all the small roads and local residents come out to offer their prayers and aarati.”

Mr. Nataraj said similar festivals are held in Yediyur, Byrasandra, Mavalli and other parts that were once agrarian. “These festivals promote harmony among the different communities, reminding them of their roots. They also helps preserve the halli sogadu (rural flavour) of the city that has grown beyond imagination.”

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