S. Harpal Singh
ADILABAD: Religiosity pervades the agency tracts of Adilabad district as members of the primitive tribes have started organising sacred rituals within the milieu. Hundreds of Gonds from different parts have set out to fetch the Godavari waters, a ritual before the start of the famous Keslapur Jatara and the Kolams have launched the Bheemal puja also known as Potharaju puja.
The harvesting season over, activities connected with both these events start on the ‘amavasya’ in December and end on the Pushya amavasya in January. The Keslapur Jatara and the Indapur and Dantanpalli Potharaju festivals are organised on the latter day, which is considered to be auspicious as per the tribal calendar.
Unlike the Keslapur Jatara, the Bheemal pujas conducted at Indapur village of Kerameri mandal and Dantanpalli of Asifabad mandal are not organised by the government and as such these events receive lesser attention though the celebrations are equally absorbing.
“The Potharaju of Kolams, a property of the entire community, is a bunch of peacock feathers tucked in a carved brass handle. This representation of Bheemal or Ayyak, some musical instruments and small figurines of horses etc are kept at a temporary camp in a field for the entire month,” explains Sidam Supari of Dhanora village in Kerameri mandal, who is one of custodians of the Indapur Potharaju.
“According to a predetermined schedule, Kolams of different villages ‘invite’ the Potharaju to respective habitations to pray and seek blessings. The prayers, meant to ward off evil eye on the village, feature sacrifice of goats,” says Atram Bhale Rao, a teacher at Pana pathar in Jainoor mandal.
“On the Pushya amavasya day, the Potharaju is taken to Indapur village near here where Kolams from far away places in Adilabad district and Maharashtra come to pay obeisance”, he adds about the festival.