Do You Know The Tale Of The Bengaluru’s Annual Kadlekai Parishe Festival?
Image Credit: This groundnut fair from Bengaluru is a huge festival.

The cultural diversity of India is no stranger to us. While we celebrate a lot of national days and festivals, there are certain others which are quite specific to a particular region. Not only do we celebrate religious festivals in the country, there are some special celebrations too which take place in niche communities. For instance, festivals of harvest. The agro-industry in India comprises of a huge chunk of the employed population of the country. The agricultural sector has been one of the primary sources of income for a large portion of the population and thus, harvest is an intrinsic part of their lives. 

The ongoing farmer protests in the country are proof. From north to south and east to west, there are a plethora of harvest festivals that are celebrated in the region. You’ve got Baisakhi and Basant Panchami in Punjab and Haryana, Makar Sankranti and Gudi Pahwa in Rajasthan and Maharashtra and Onam and Pongal in the southern parts. While they are known by different names and celebrated at different times of the year, the essence of the celebration remains constant i.e. the first harvest. For farmers, the first harvest is like a ray of hope which signifies the onset of prosperity and happiness in their lives. 

Along the same lines, Bengaluru has a very special harvest festival in the Hindu month of Kartik. Usually falling between November end and the first week of December, this region-specific festival is called Kadlekai Parishe. At this time of the year, the iconic street of Basavanagudi is filled with farmers who set up shop on the road to display their harvest. The festival derives its name from Kannada which means groundnut fair or festival. This street is also home to the famous tourist attraction, the bull temple in Bengaluru around which the whole festival revolves. Perplexed about the connection between the groundnut harvest and bull temple? 

The Legend Of Basava And Groundnuts 

The 500-year old tradition of Kadlekai Parishe that began in 1537 A.D.,  draws its significance from the legend of the bull. It is said that the villages in the area surrounding Basavanagudi used to have large fields of groundnuts. On full moon night, they used to get troubled because their crops would get spoilt each year. The culprit was a bull that would charge at the crops and destroy them, leaving the farmers with no harvest to sell. Since nandi or basava (bull) is worshipped and considered to be a holy animal, the farmers began to hail to Lord Nandi at the bull temple, whose foundation was laid by the chieftain, Kempte Gowda. 

The locals prayed for the safety of their cultivation and promised to offer the first harvest to the bull in return. That’s how the bull temple became an essential part of the farmer’s harvest of groundnuts and as well as a central part of the festive celebrations. Since then, it became a practice to celebrate Kadlekai Parishe as a huge annual affair. 

One of the oldest towns of Bengaluru, Basavangudi witnesses a large-scale pomp and show each year when the offerings are made on the last Monday of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. The streets filled with heaps and heaps of groundnuts are sold in litres by farmers coming from faraway lands. Moreover, it is like a two-day fair which now stretches up to a week-long celebration with candies, rides and several other games and shows for kids and adults alike. 

It is interesting to note how a simple groundnut can hold such a special place in the hearts of the residents of Basavanagudi, particularly. The celebrations which began on 29th November this year have come to an end and if you’re tempted to try some groundnut dishes, we’ve got some ideas for you. 

1. Groundnut Soup 

This meaty soup is light, healthy and tasty, originating from the African lands. 

2.  Groundnut Stew 

Make a nice grilled chicken stew with the rich flavours of groundnut paste. 

3.  Groundnut Ladoos 

Why not try rolling the ball with these delectable and sweet groundnut ladoos?