Belagavi is abuzz with anticipation as the Holi season approaches and the small temples of Holi Kamanna, located in various narrow alleyways and even the large one sharing a wall with Shivaji Garden, receive a fresh coat of white paint.
One can be amazed at the precision and diversity of the rhythms they produce from this small percussion instrument! They travel around residential and commercial areas and collect donations for the burning of the Kamanna effigy. Some truly amusing expletives from these children are the key to unlocking their wallets!
People mark today by gathering around a bonfire to pray and carry out Holika Dahan rituals. The custom is related to Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahalad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, and his demoness aunt, Holika. The festival of Holika Dahan is celebrated every year on the day of Phalgun Purnima as a symbol of the victory of good over evil.
Holi day is marked by the crescendo of time drums, and by evening, the ritual of burning a stack of wood and dried tree branches, symbolizing evil, is complete.
People offer puran poli, a traditional delicacy for this festival, to the fire as an offering to appease the fire Gods. Traditionally made from flour, horse gram, and jaggery, it is now often prepared with tur dal and sugar for ease.
At places like the Balaji Temple in Shahapur, this ritual is carried out in the morning and the embers burn for more than a day, signifying the triumph of good over evil.