Hyderabad: The celebrations of the First Day of the auspicious and much-awaited biennial “Medaram Jathara” commenced on the 16th of February 2022 as the arrival of Saralamma on to the ‘Medaram Gaddhe’ (Platform) was undertaken by the Koya Tribe of Telangana.
Medaram Jatara is the second-largest fair of India, after the Kumbh Mela, celebrated by the second-largest Tribal Community of Telangana- the Koya tribe for four days. As the largest tribal fair in Asia, Medaram Jathara is conducted in honour of the Goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma. It is celebrated once in two years in the month of ‘Magha’ (February) on the full moon day. Saralamma was the daughter of Sammakka. Her idol, according to the rituals, is installed in a temple at Kannepalli, a small village near Medaram.
In the early hours of the day, Pujaris (Priests) performed sacred pujas . The traditional Koya priests (Kaka Vaddes) bring, on the first day, the insignia (Aderalu / Sacred pots and Bandaru / Mix of turmeric and saffron powders) of the goddess Saralamma from Kannepally and place on her Gadde (platform) in Medaram, amidst their traditional musical beats (Doli / cylindrical drum, Akkum / brass blowing instrument, Thootha Kommu / bison-horn blowing instrument, cymbals, etc.) and dances with huge processions/prostrations of the pilgrims seeking boons for children, etc.
Similarly, on the same day by evening the insignia of Sammakka’s husband Pagididda Raju – flag, Aderalu and Bandaru – is brought by Penka Vaddes from Punugondla village, Kothaguda Mandal, Mahbubabad district to Medaram. Likewise, the insignia of the deities of Govindaraju, brother-in-law of Sammakka and Nagulamma, sister of Sammakka are also brought by Dubbagatta Vaddes from the village Kondayi, Eturunagaram Mandal, Jayashankar Bhupalpally district to Medaram.
Several pilgrims of different villages and various Scheduled Tribes assemble there, and crores of pilgrims are visiting the Mulugu District to celebrate the festival with full gusto. At present, the Jathara festival is biennially celebrated and organized by the Koyas in collaboration with the Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Telangana.
The villages of Kannepalli performed ‘Aarti’ and organized grand farewells to Saralamma. Subsequently, the idol of Saralamma is brought to Medaram Gaddhe through ‘Jampanna Vaagu’ (a small canal named after Jampanna). After arriving on to the ‘Gaddhe’ Saralamma is worshipped with special pujas and other rituals. More than 3 million devotees visit Saralamma and offer special pujas as a part of the Medaram Jathara.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is proactively supporting and covering the events of the festival and ensuring the preservation and promotion of the various intriguing facets of the Scheduled Tribes of Telangana. This festival aims to generate awareness of tribal cultures, festivals and heritage as well as maintain a harmonious bond between the visitors and the Tribal communities of Telangana.