The Belagavi Dasara has some elysian history behind it. It may not be as grand as the Mysore Dasara but in its own style it’s different and one of its kind.
The Simolanghan (crossing the border) happens at the Vidya Niketan grounds near St.Xaviers school. People from all lifestyles from young to old gather there for a yearly fair where the leaves of Aapti tree are looted on the pretext of it symbolizing Gold. The Patil of Belagavi does the Puja and then the various Palkhi’s of the Gods come to the venue like the Venkatramna temple, Maruti Temple, Jotiba temple and the Aapte tree leaves are looted and then exchanged with each other as gold.
Another diverse part of the celebration is Camp Dasara; it has a different look altogether. K T Pujari and sons started this Utsav in 1901. There are 5 Devi chariots that are taken out in a procession which also ends on the same grounds above. Marriama Devi of K T Pujari & sons, Muthu Mariamma from Madras BHT area, Kunti Devi from the fish market, Mariama from old Telugu colony. These 5 are supposed to be sisters. A Procession is taken out in the evenings of the 5 chariots and thousands of people throng the High Street to get a glimpse of the same. Dance, music, people wearing mascots like tiger, lion are another attraction.
Another big highlight for the Shahpur area is the Rathotsav of the Venkateshwara Temple at Vitthaldev Galli. It is done exactly like the one at Tirupati.
Prior to Dasara, there is a Vaahanaotsav for 8 days with separate vaahana ( Elephant,
Lion, Garuda, Maruti, Peacock, Horse, etc.) every day and a nice procession is taken out. Dasara has a huge Rathotsav that moves throughout Shahapur. Similar Rathotsav is done for the Venkateshwar temple near Basavan Galli- Bhave chowk corner.
The Shahapur temple belongs to the Naik family and the Utsav has been done for more than 200 years. The temple used to get grants from the Nizam of Bijapur until independence.
Happy Dasara to all!
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Wondering why no grants after independence.
My wife’s maternal grandfather shri. Mahadevrao A. Chavan-Patil Vatandaars’ of Belgao had the honour (मान) of the doing the first Pooja at ‘Simholanghan’ & the first offering of the “Aaptyache pan ” ( आपट्याचे पान) by the virtue of their right of inheritance. They also hold the honour (मान) of doing the first pooja & lighting the Holi of Belgaum, leading the procession of the Gram devta Laxmi devi yatra by holding a sword & leading the procession, & also the honour (मान) of pleading with the Gods (गाह्राराणे घालणे) at the various temples in the city requesting the Gods for good rains or a good harvest, etc.. After his demise the tradition is still carried on by some one else from the Chavan-Patil family, till date.
Thank you for this article. I remember the Shahapur Vahana and Ratha so vividly. There was so much Sambhrama as we offered Arathi and prasad to the Vahana. everyone puts Rangoli in the evening and awaits for the Vahana with band bajantri to arrive near their door. I remember our relatives would come from HindwaDi for this 5 days during Navrathri. The grand finale being Venkateshwara Ratha on Dasara. The Apte leaves are shammi or Banni leaves right? On Dasara we go to elders place and say “Banni togonDu bangarada hanga iroNu”. Such lovely traditions missing all of this sitting so far away.
Happy Dasara to all.