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Thousands turn up for Gulbarga car festival

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A SEA OF HUMANITY:Devotees at the car festival of Sri Sharanabasaveshwar Temple in Gulbarga on Friday.
A SEA OF HUMANITY:Devotees at the car festival of Sri Sharanabasaveshwar Temple in Gulbarga on Friday.

Special Correspondent

Punyathithi of Sri Sharanabasaveshwar observed on a large scale

GULBARGA: Tens of thousands of devotees on Friday witnessed the annual car festival of the famed Sharanabasaveshwar Temple here to commemorate the 188th punyathithi (death anniversary) of the 18th century social reformer Sharanabasaveshwar.

It was a sea of humanity inside the sprawling Sharanabasaveshwar Temple and devotees jostled with one another to have a glimpse of the deity in the car. Banana and dry dates tied to a thread were hurled at the car, which is an age-old tradition.

The former Supreme Court judge and member of the National Human Rights Commission Shivaraj Patil, judges of the Karnataka High Court, senior government officials, businessmen and social workers witnessed the car festival from a special podium.

The devotees witnessed the Peetarohana of the Sharanabasaveshwar Samasthan by the 8th Peetathipathi Poojya Sharanbasvappa Appa on the occasion.

Dr. Appa displayed the holy prasada battalu signalling the beginning of the annual car festival and the fortnight long annual fair. Almost every household in Gulbarga district observes it as a ritual to fast from dawn-to-dusk till the car of the Sharanabasaveshwar Temple is drawn and later they take a bath to have their dinner comprising traditional holige and huggi along with the traditional food.

Special prasada consisting of holige and huggi is offered in the Dasoha Mane in the Sharanabasaveshwar Temple after the annual car festival and all the dignitaries compulsorily taste the delicacies. Saint Sharanabasaveswar is revered by the people of the region for his service to humanity during the worst-ever famines in the 18th century which claimed thousands of life in the region.

Right from the morning, the people from different parts of the district and neighbouring districts started making a beeline for the temple to offer their obeisance to the samadhi of Sri Sharanabasaveshwar enshrined in the temple. It is a practice in the region that the devotees performing padayatras from their villages to the temple to offer their obeisance to Saint Sharanabasaveshwar during the car festival.

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