Bangalore's reputation as a city of flower gardens finds a reflection in the traditional festivities of the city. Just as flowers are integral to Karaga, another annual event in the old locality of Ulsoor has flowers in its very name.

Poo Pallakki, as the car festival of the historic Someshwara temple is better known, is virtually an annual competition between gods and goddesses of the localities in and around Ulsoor over which one arrives in the best flower-bedecked palanquin. The car festival is believed to be the wedding day of Someshwara with Kamakshi, and flowers are the theme of all decorations.

The event this year falls on April 30 and preparations are under way. Just like Karaga, Poo Pallakki too is a nightlong event, starting that evening and reaching its crescendo some time around midnight, with close to 100 palanquins being taken in a procession accompanied by dancing and revelry.

One of the trustees of Someshwara temple, V. Govindaraju, believes that this festival has a history of about 500 years, when Kempegowda renovated the temple.

The historical validity of this, however, is not established.

S. Gunashekhar, who has been actively associated with organising the event since his boyhood, says more than 100 people work round the clock as volunteers during the festival.

Big budget

Flowers being really what make this festival, the budget for floral decorations alone runs to over Rs. 2 lakh.

Mr. Gunashekhar says that flowers are not bought all together but in small quantities as the decorations progress.

“Since flowers are perishable, they turn brown if we buy them all in one go and store them. So one or two volunteers keep rushing to the market every now and then to get a fresh batch,” he says, describing the frenetic behind-the-scene activity that marks Poo Pallakki.

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