Kadlekai Parishe: Going nuts

November 21, 2006

The Bull Temple at Basavanagudi burst into a festive spirit yesterday, the last Monday of Karthika Maasa. In the colourful atmosphere one not only saw Laksha Deepotsava (lighting of one lakh lamps), but also lakhs of people going nuts.

One of the city’s oldest and unusual fairs, Kadlekai Parishe (Groundnut fair) began yesterday in and around the Bull Temple. The whole stretch from Ramakrishna Mutt till Kamath Bugle Rock was blocked for traffic. All you could find were sellers, buyers and predominantly heaps of groundnuts all across the street. There were colourful crowds who thronged the ancient temple to pray, buy groundnuts or any of the myriad objects for sale, soak in the atmosphere and, possibly, all of the above.

The line of flickering oil lanterns; the tall heaps of Kadlekai spread out on cement bags; carts of Khara, colourful Battas and Channas; the warm steam from the cooking Kadlekai; the mud and glass toys; books, charts and posters for children and elders; balloons in various colours, shapes and sizes; Churumuri, Chaat and Dose carts – once again the beginning of Kadlekai Parishe fused in life and excitement in Bangalore, as hordes of people were seen ambling down the street to have a look at what this year’s fair had in store for them. Considering that gorging on raw groundnuts can give you the mother of all indigestions, I saw a few enterprising jaggery sellers (as well as puffed rice vendors) who had set up shop.

The chief attraction was, of course, the large number of groundnut vendors displaying their ware all over the place. A whole lot of groundnut varieties from villages and districts around Bangalore were available. They sold the nuts ranging from Rs 10 a Seru and cooked ones for Rs 12. I got to know from a few vendors that some of them hailed from Dharmapuri, a district in Tamil Nadu adjoining Bangalore district. There were a few from Mavalli, Sunkenahalli, Hosahalli and a few from Andhra too.

Apart from the Kadlekai vendors, there were sellers of all sorts of items, ranging from plastic and wooden toys, mehendi patterns, jewellery and sweets to miniature models of dining tables and inflated aeroplanes. One could even know the future for as less as Rs.5 at the parishe! Kids freaked out in the joy rides and merry-go-rounds. My son looked really happy seeing those flying tops and balloons. I think he even enjoyed munching a few nuts with us.

There is a story behind this unusual festival. It is said that the groundnut farmers were stumped (and angered, no doubt) by someone who was feasting on their precious crop at night time. They assumed it was the handiwork of thieves and decided to catch them red-handed. Sure enough, one alert farmer heard the rustling of vegetation. However, the night was pitch black and he could not see a thing. Even so, he swung his crowbar and brought it on what he assumed a thief. It turned out to be a bull, which fell down dead, and turned into a stone even as the crowbar lay impaled in its body. It was too late the farmers learned that the bull used to come to the fields on full moon nights to not only help itself, but also to keep watch, and that the bull was the sacred Basava himself, Lord Shiva’s mount. Come the next full moon and no bull appeared. The farmer who killed the bull consulted his comrades and decided to atone for his sin by constructing a temple around the stone bull. When the construction was half-complete, the farmers were aghast to see that the bull kept growing, towering over the surrounding walls. Every time the farmers raised the walls, the bull simply became bigger.

This continued till one night, the farmer who had struck down the bull had a dream in which Lord Shiva directed him to retrieve a trident buried in the earth in front of the bull and affix it on to its forehead. The farmer was also instructed to tell the others that their first groundnut harvest should be offered to the shrine every year. They complied, and the bull stopped growing. The ritual continues to this day.

Legend also has it that Bangalore’s founder, Kempe Gowda, after hearing of the incident, turned up in disguise at Basavanagudi and asked the farmers who they were propitiating. On being told it was Basavanna who had looked after them all these years and had ensured that their crops got good rains, Kempe Gowda also offered his obeisance to the deity. That night he had a dream about a treasure. He had to disinter it and build a temple in its place. He complied. This was in 1537. Another version has it that Kempe Gowda, while under the captivity of the Vijayanagar ruler, Sadashivaraya, was fascinated by Hampi’s architecture. On being released, he came down south to found Bangalore, and had the temple built on similar lines. (Trivia: according to geologists, the river Arkavati once flowed where the Bull Temple stands now. It changed course following an earthquake. The huge boulders in the area substantiate this conclusion.)

A few old timers were chatting amongst themselves about the Kadlekai Parishe in their times. Certainly, this fair offers a sense of nostalgia, the thought of yesteryears when life was all about the basics and festivals all about their values and simplicity.

Today is the last day of Kadlekai Parishe.

23 Responses to “Kadlekai Parishe: Going nuts”

  1. TSSM Says:

    wonderful piece.

    It reminds me of my own younger days, when families and friends used to roam the whole of the evening in the bull temple area watching and savouring the whole show. At the end of it, all of us would be laden with several ‘seru’ of the nuts. My cousins used to come from Malleshwaram to enjoy the parishe. It was a ‘habba’ for us.

    It was then a predominantly kadle kayi parishe. Now a lot of fun has been added . It is great to hear about the continuance of the parishe over the decades.

    All these days I didnot know of its background. Thanks for providing it.

  2. christy Says:

    Hello RK,

    Nice to know the reason behind the Kadlekai Parishe, I always wanted to visit basavanagudi during this festival and always fail to do so, i came to know that i really missed a lot after reading this. My mom always remembers Kadlekai Parishe and tell about her childhood memories attached to it. Hope next time i will visit there.

  3. Srik Says:

    Commendable post!!

    Kadle kai parishe has become a Jana Jaatre now a days. Lots of them!! We went there on Sunday for the very reason to avoid people, but I know that means avoiding the fun too. However, we bought groundnuts and had happy time later.

    Hey You’ve missed the beautiful idols made of mud being sold there. Might’ve overlooked or was it just a miss? It has been a habit for us to buy ‘one’ new idol for my sister every year.

  4. decemberstud Says:

    Good one RK. Me never been there, but can imagine bull temple road with tons of people……This gives a nice overview.

  5. Praveen Says:

    I was heading home late last night (23:30ish) and still there were lotz of people and vendors. I stopped by to catch up some fun.
    Thanks for the provinding history of the habba.

  6. prashanth Says:

    I’m planning to leave office aearly today and go there πŸ™‚

  7. rk Says:

    glad you liked the post. me too went from malleswaram to see the fair.

    thanks for dropping by. please do share your mom’s memories of ‘kadlekai parishe’ with us in your next comment.

    thanks. nice to hear that you buy one every year for your sister. i did not miss those mud idols. have written in the post about them (Para 3).

    do plan a visit to bangalore during november-december. maybe you can see the fair and revel in it. i am happy you liked the post.

    nice to know you got a glimpse of the fair late at night.
    you are welcome.

    great to know that. (me too did the same y’day). i will wait to see the fantastic pictures that you take today. enjoy.

  8. usha Says:

    Super post Bellur,

    Dodda Basavannana pakka kadlekai sippe ondhu dodda gudde iruthe naley nadidhu..:D parishe aftereffects on bull temple road.

  9. Anil Anand Says:

    Nice post RK avare….Basavanagudi is probably the only such area in Bangalore having a fair of its own, and a uniwue one too, for such a long time.

    And hey, if i am not wrong theres a saying that the river Vrishabhavathi(now carrying the sewage of bangalore) originates there. I checked it out on Google Earth and maybe its true.

  10. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Bellur Ramki, Kadalekai parishe bagge blog nalli post maadi olle kelsa maadidri. adbuta, infotaining(informative + Entertaining). Thanks for letting me know that there is another day. We will try that today., let me see whether I am destined to reach that atleast today.

    Ninne naan maneg hogo ashTralle 8pm amele deepa hatsi, sur sur batti hachchi.. adige maadodralli 9:15pm.. someshwara temple gaadru hogoNa ankonde, sadhya alle mane hatra idda sai baba temple ge hodre adu baaglu.. daarile kai mugidu maneg vaapas aadvi.. haNel bardilla andre ell hodru en maadidru dakkalvante.. Bhaagya se zyaada, samay se pehle kisi ko kuch nahi milta antha hiriyoru heLidaaralla alva ?

    Bull temple bagge details chennagide & also the kaDlekaayi parishe story. I like my country & place for all such sentiments & also the cultural history. Same holds good for the mudukotore & talakaadu. namma manedevaru allide(namma ajji mane devru Mudukutore, namma tande mane talakaadu namma maava alias gandana maney devru shrishaila).. I have to visit all .. maduve aadmele hogbeku aadre because of so called ‘Busy schedule of both me & him’ hoglikke aaglilla… I like visitng places, we had been to Tumkur to see that Ganesha(pendaal ganesha to be specific). Every year we go there because my MIL had the harike of this kind, when my husband joined his medical school last decade in Tumkur. ! Basavanagudi andre olle devastaana ansatte hesru nodidire, Sanjay blog nalli odida nenpu, gudi part is an integral part of MAL-GUDI & the first portion MAL comes from your Malleshwaram anthe… Olle hisotry maatra alva ? Long live, bangalore, bangaloreans & bloggers.
    DS avare, another reason to be here. November-December time nalli banni nimma samsaara sametha & visit Kadlekaayi parishe. If people are coming today, we can plan & coordinate to meet .. Let me know.

  11. praneshachar Says:

    kadlekai parishe bagge olleya lekhan savivaravagi bareddira
    dhanyvadagalu. iga kadlekai jothege bere yella iruvadarinda nanu namm oorina kade jatre jnapisikonde
    navu sunday a kade hogidve avagale jatreya kampu arambhavagittu on a low key. yesterday it must be peak.
    nive isthella vishaya sangrahane yellinda madidiri nimman samaya prajnege uttaravilla
    nivu hige yellavishayaga sangraha serisi olleya pustaka publish madabudo. publisher sigabeku asthe ide swalpa kashtada kelasa.
    namma bheti yavaga agutto anta kaitha idini. i week end akkanna meet madlikke hoskerehallige hogidde. munidavara
    tumba function gruhaoravesh reception yella ide nodona madhya samaya sikkare barthini

  12. rk Says:

    thanks. πŸ˜€ rofl at your comments!!

    glad you liked the post.
    true. only basavanagudi is host to such a unique fair.
    google earth is real handy. yes, river vrishabhavathi, a minor tributary of arkavathi, arises within the city at Basavanagudi and flows through the city. together, rivers arkavathi and vrishabhavathi carry much of bangalore’s sewage.

    thanks for your comments. do visit the fair today. i am sure you will love it. thanks for letting us know about your manedevru in mudukutore and about ‘pendal’ ganesha in tumkur. y’day i watched talakaadu in ETV Kannada during the telecast of “Laksha Deepotsava LIVE from DHARMASTHALA”. although they showed a snippet of talakaadu, worth the shot! hope you visit all the temples you have in your list soon.
    bull temple is an ancient temple, believed to have been constructed in the 16th century AD. another historic temple in basavanagudi is gavi gangadhareshwara devasthana.on January 14th every year, something extraordinary happens in this temple. on that day a ray of sunlight passes through an arch between the horns of stone bull that stands outside the temple and lights up the idol inside. it is a phenomenon that is proof of the technical excellence of ancient architects, of their knowledge of astronomy combined with great architectural skill. the temple itself is dedicated to lord shiva and is a natural cave caved out of a monolithic stone.
    do visit these places in leisure. have a great time at kadlekai parishe.

    nimage hidsidre, naanu baredu saarthaka.kadlekai parishe oorina jaathreyanne holthitthu! namma snehita srikanth kooda bhanuvaradande parishege hogi bandrante. aadashtu bega bheti madona. vandanegalu.

  13. travel plaza Says:

    RK. Great informative and entertaining post. Although I have lived in B’lore for more than 20 years, I have never been to kadlekai parishe. We used to go to Bull temple once in a while, though. Hope that sometime, I can view this splendid festival of lights and the kadlekai parishe. We usually visit India during summer as kids have vacation then. Maybe sometime, I can come during November-December. Thanks so much for giving the history of the habba.

  14. decemberstud Says:

    Veena : The last time I was in India during Nov/Dec was in 2003. I don’t know which Nov again, coz am thinking more on lines of summer next year. Don’t want to change the plans for kaDalEkAyi parIshe πŸ™‚

  15. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Bellur, innomme Thanksu.
    ninne kaDlekai parishe nalli sakkat maja bantu.. Prashanth is born brought up & living in Bangalore past soooo many years but he had not visited. πŸ™‚ Ulsoor nalil nadiyo pallakki utsavakke hogidrante chikkovriddaaga..

    Srik kooDa bandidru, We could locate each other through the evil called Mobile phone. Srik left early as he had some tuesday pooja to be done at home. Me Usha, Dwarka & thier neighbours had a great time at B-Gudi. Sakkat maja bantu, olle dinner kooDa aaytu beugal(spell check pls) rock kamat nalli. OTTinalli, nanna baalya nenapaaytu, Cotton candy, churumuri, kaDlekai, wow! amazing.. shopping kooDa maadidvi. Maneg hogo ashTralle almost 11:45 aagittu.. Bellur innomme thanksu idara bagge nimma blog nalli post maaDiddu.

    DS, neevella nimma nimma anukoolakke takkante nimma vacation plan maadi saar. Mysore ge bandaaga heLi, bloggers day out antha ondu dina bheTi maaDoNa.. Bellur sanmaana kooDa maaDbahudu! πŸ™‚ nimma shrimathi avarannu karkomD banni, most important aagi naanu avranna bheTi maadbeku πŸ™‚

  16. Veena Shivanna Says:

    It should be read as We, Usha Dwarka & their neighbours.

  17. Vijay Says:

    RK: Good write up… by the way.. belated Happy Birthday…. Nov 18th wasnt it?

  18. usha Says:

    Many many happy returns of the day Bellur (Belated)

  19. rk Says:

    thanks. you and your family ought to see this fair (i know you love going to new places and exploring new things, you will love this unique fest!).
    do plan to come down sometime in nov-dec. cheers.

    anna, nimmanukoolakke banni. nimagoskra, neevu bandaga naanu kadlekai parishe yerpaad maadthini nammaneli. πŸ˜‰

    lovely to hear yourself, prashanth, usha, dwarka, usha’s neighbours and srikanth had a wale of a time. neevella enjoy maadiddu odhi khushi aaythu. neevella hogi kadlekai parishege ondhu khale kaatida haage aaythu!
    ulsoor pallakki utsavakke bheti kodbeku. hogilla. thanks for letting us know. yaavaga iratte utsava gotta? yejamanranna keli heli. during the first ‘Muktha get-together’, we had been to Kamath Bugle Rock. that’s where TNS also met us. nice place alwa?
    as you told, we can arrange another get-together when D-stud and other NRI bloggers come to india in a convenient place.
    thanks for commenting. take care.

    glad you liked the post. (howdhu 18th) thanks for your wishes!

    thanks a lot!

  20. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Ulsoor pallakki happens sometimes in April I suppose. Will let you know definitely. Its another big jaatre in bangalore. Also heard from Nagendra(Usha’s neighbour), we have the bangalore karaga which is equally big. Also one on Circle Maaramma Goddess.. Probably people can put across more list who belongs to this city from birth.
    Mysore alli, dasara exhibition, flower show, aramane namage jaatre. Amele allalli ganesha habbadalli beedili penDhaul haaki film torsovaru(bili parde mele). Ganesh habba bantu andre naavella akshate hiDkondu , Aunty Aunty, nimmaneli ganesha koorsideera antha 101 ganesh nodo tanaka suttu tidvi.. sometime for the heck of making the number(last last nalli) alle repear ella hodidu kadege 101 maadi mugistidvi(dead line ittalla manege bega hogbeku antha adakke).. Reshme langa holskondu habba enjoy maadtha idvi, my mother had given her mother’s saree to have my reshme langa stitched, I still have it with me .. Its amazing you see.! I think I will also stictch one reshme langa for my daughter (if any in future) πŸ˜‰

    nimmane kadlekai parishe ge naanu eegle haajar aagteeni okayana?.. 18th nimma huttida habbakke no postaa ? magana birthday idre maatra dodda postaa ? enu saar idu ?

  21. anjankumark007 Says:

    Superb post .. It reminds me of my childhood days πŸ™‚

  22. rk Says:

    thanks anjan! had been to the parishe y’day with my family. we all loved it, to say the least.

  23. beena Says:

    i m curious to know till what date it will somebody please guide the duration of this below is my number

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