Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour and gaiety. It is a harvest festival and is perhaps the only Indian festival where the date always falls on the same day of every year; the 14th of January with just a few exceptions when it is celebrated either on 13th or 15th of January. The festival of Makar Sankranti is highly regarded by the Hindus from North to down South. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.
The festival is celebrated in numerous ways in different regions of Karnataka and sees a major influx of devotees and tourists. Here is a look at the various places in Karnataka where Makar Sankranti is celebrated with grandeur.
Udupi is the land of eternal bliss, thanks to the Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. The town is famous for its Krishna temple that is visited by a large number of devotees throughout the year. It is a picturesque town where tourists can head out to explore unseen places. The perfect time to visit this city is during the Makar Sankranti festival when the entire city is decked up and the 'Three Chariot Festival' is held here. The festival commemorates the placing of the temple dieties on this holy day. Travellers coming here can witness the various rituals held here and also partake in the festivities that follow.
Photo Courtesy: Magiceye
The town of Srirangapatna takes its name from the celebrated Ranganathaswamy Templethat makes it one of the most importantVaishnavite centers of pilgrimage inSouth India. The temple was built by theGanga dynasty in the 9th century and later the structure was strengthened and improved upon architecturally. It is one of the must-visit places in Karnataka during the Makar Sankranti festival as on this auspicious day the temple celebrates Lakshadeepotsava. Over one hundred thousand little oil lamps are lit on the premises of the temple and devotees come here from far and wide to seek the blessing of the Lord. Travellers coming here can explore the temple and also be mesmerised by the beauty of the innumerable lamps.
Photo Courtesy: Gopal Venkatesan
The Gavi Gangadeshwar Cave Temple that is also known as the Gavipuram Cave temple is located in SouthBangalore andis thronged by devotees on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is a perfect example for the Indian rock-cut architecture and was built during the 9th century out of a monolithic rock. On the day of Makar Sankranti in January each year the sun rays illuminate the Shivalinga inside the sanctum for about an hour, passing amidst the horns of the Nandi sculpture that's located in front of the temple. Devotees nad tourists come here to witness this event and also seek the blessings of the lord.
Photo Courtesy: Pavithrah
Belgaum, located in the north-western region of Karnataka, is among the old cities of Karnataka. The region shows the interesting confluences of culture that history has ensured as it was ruled by different dynasties such as the Yadavas, Khiljis, Hoysalas, Nayaks, Sultans, Marathas and many more. The city called by varying names including the now official Belagavi is also popular as the 'Sugar Bowl' of the state. Located against the backdrop of the Sahyadri mountains, Belgaum is a beautiful place that is popular for cultivation. Makara Snakranti is celebrated here every year as the harvest festival and people of this town are known to prepare sweets in their houses and distribute them. On this day everybody wears new clothes and offer prayers to the lord thanking him for the rich harvest. Travellers coming here can explore the various attractions that this place has to offer and also enjoy the festivities that takes place during this festival.
Photo Courtesy: Manjunath Doddamani Gajendragad
In the various small villages of Karnataka the festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated by painting the cattle in various colours and having a procession of them through the village. Thereafter in the evenings few brave men from the villages walk over burning coal. It is believed that by doing this their previous sins are forgiven and these men have become pure. Travellers coming here can partake in the festivities that take place here and also listen to the various folklores about the reason behind celebrating this festival.
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