Nagoba Jatara off to a glorious start at Keslapur

The Mesram clan Adivasis walking towards the Nagoba temple with the brass image of the serpent god at Keslapur in Adilabad district on Friday.   | Photo Credit: S. Harpal Singh

The few hundred Raj Gond and Pardhan Adivasis, men clad in pure white dhoti-kurta and the pagdi headgear and women in the traditional colourful nau-vari Maharashtrian style saree, made for a beautiful visage as they walked barefoot from the sacred wad marra or banyan tree to the Nagoba temple, traditional musicians leading them, on Friday.

They entered the temple of the serpent god, the clan god of the Boigutta branch of the Mesram Raj Gonds and Pardhans of former composite Adilabad district, giving a solemn start to the rituals associated with the start of the famous annual Nagoba jatara also known as Keslapur jatara after the village in Indervelli mandal where the even takes place.

The temple for which a new structure is coming up is dedicated to the serpent god, known as Shri Shek to the aboriginal people, and is the centre of all activities during the week long festivities.

Maha puja

The rituals here are associated with puja of Nagoba, the high points being the maha puja which was participated by Collector D. Divya, Superintendent of Police Vishnu S. Warrier and Project Officer of Integrated Tribal Development Agency, Utnoor, S. Krishna Aditya signalling the start of jatara on Friday night.

One of the most important part of the jatara, which followed the maha puja, was ‘bheting’ or introduction of the new brides in the clan to the clan god. It, however, took place in the small hours of Saturday.

The run up to the maha puja also saw some interesting cultural aspects of the ethnic tribes all along the day. Soon after entering the temple with the ‘jhari’ or the sacred brass container in which the Adivasis had earlier fetched holy gangajal or water from Godavari from Hastinamadugu in Jannaram mandal of Mancherial district, the clan members greeted elders with the ‘ram-ram’ salutation and offered a pinch of tobacco as a mark of respect.

Customary roles

The Mesram clan women who had been married into other clans were then handed over the sacred earthen pots to fetch water from the holy open well under the wad marra. The women with pots on their heads and walking single file made for a spectacle.

The water was used to make sacred ant hill, the abode of the serpent god. Pardhan musicians led by the septuagenarian Mesram Tukdoji played music on the ancient kingri string instrument inside the temple while all rituals were being performed.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2021 12:31:25 AM |

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