Kadlekai Parishe – Groundnut Festival

I thought Festival season was over but it just keeps on going…
This week was the Kadlekai Parishe, or the Groundnut Festival. This 3-day festival takes place only in Bangalore near the Bull Temple. Of course there is always a legend to go along with a festival. This one has to do with a bull in the 1500’s – every full moon a bull would charge into the groundnut fields and damage the crop. The farmers started to offer prayers to Basava (Nandi) to stop the bull and pledged to offer their first crop.

Subsequently, an Idol of Basava was found close by. It has been said that the Idol was growing rapidly, and the farmers nailed an iron peg on the head of the idol to stop it from growing. Later in the year 1537, a temple to ‘Dodda Basava’ was built on a small hill and the idol was put inside. This temple is known as the Bull Temple here in Bangalore. The bull is black and decorated with garlands.

Every year, farmers from surrounding villages come to the Bull Temple and offer their annual harvest of groundnut as offering to Lord Basava. This is accompanied by the annual fair, which is known as the Kadlekai Parishe.

I went on the third and final day of the festival. There were lots of vendors selling their groundnuts on carts or on the sidewalk. There was a small fair with rides, astrologers reading palms, people selling inexpensive jewellery, bangles, toys and lots of snacks, rice, fruit and sugarcane.

One interesting thing that I tried from a street vendor was a twelve-year-old root – sliced thinly, dipped in sugar and lime – delicious! Wish I knew what it was.

There were balloons, and horns and bubbles. It was like a festive street party centered around the Bull Temple where I’m sure most people made their way to give an offering to Nandi (the bull) himself.

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