Famous Nanjangud. Chariot festival of Karnataka

Srikanteshwara raththchava Nanjangode.deccanchronicle.com

 Srikanteshwara raththchava Nanjangode.deccanchronicle.com

In the state of Karnataka  one of the most popular and biggest ratha festivals is  Gouthama Panchamaha Rathotsava of Lord Srikanteshwara of Nanjangud, near Mysore  that attracts roughly 5 lakhs devotees.  the town lies on the banks of river Kabini. Often called Dakshina Khasi, the town is famous for bananas.

 Last couple of years the chariot festival was cancelled in the face of covid-19 pandemic threats.  However, this year the annual event the Dodda Jatre  took place  with renewed joy and all the five chariots with deities were pulled all along the 1.5 km car street street by lots of devotees. 

Nanjangud temple, KA ourismofkarnataka.com

 The first of the five chariots called the ‘Ganapathy Ratha’ is  followed by the ‘Chandikeshwara Ratha’, the ‘Gautama Ratha’, ‘Subramanya Ratha,’ and lastly the ‘Parvathi Ratha’. The Gautma ratha gets our attention because it is a tall one - as tall as he height of the main tower of the temple about 90 feet. During the rath yatra extra precautions are taken to keep the chariots on the right course, not  veering off  right or left considering their weight and size.  

Several years ago for the second time the tall temple car (weight:110 tons) veered off the road for the second consecutive year and got stuck in the mud spoiling the joyous and festive spirit of the devotees. The 19 inch and 110 m long rope   tied to the chariot got cut off  midway, making the chariot to lean on one side. 

This  untoward incident made the temple authorities to be careful in the following year. The main  Gauthama chariot, it is mentioned, is more than 100 years old.  The rath yatra was held up for more than one hour and finally the  tilted top of the chariot was jacked up with help from the railway jack  and earth movers. This minor glitch  marred the historic car festival of Lord Srikanteshwara in  the temple town of Nanjangud near Mysuru. For more than one thousand years Nanjangud has been a major Shaiva.  Records mention that Chola Kings in the 11th – 12th century of Thanjavur  built this temple with later additions by the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara kings.