In the month of September, when paddy season has come to a close after a gruelling season of agricultural operations, it is time to celebrate the festival of Kailpodh in Coorg. Observed by the locals here, the Kodava clan in particular, this festival is honoured with festivities, a great feast and a gathering for sports and games on the village turf. A prominent festival in Karnataka, this annual event is celebrated with fervour and gaiety.
In the days of yore, on Kailpodh, the Kodavas would venture out at the break of dawn and go hunting. Known to be independent, self-respecting and law-abiding, they would depend on their weapons for food and livelihood. Nowadays, hunting isn’t a part of the celebrations but these weapons are decorated and a pooja is offered on the day of Kailpodh. During the festivities, the whole family assembles on the village green for contests and sports before feasting and drinking.
Unlike the rest of the country, the people of Coorg believe in celebrating fewer festivals, although with full zest. Other than Kailpodh, they also celebrate Kaveri Shankarama and the Puttari (also called Huttari) festival.
This festival portrays the traditional culture of Karnataka. As October arrives, it is time for the festival Kaveri Shankramana, another chief festival of the Kodava people. It marks the water level rise of the Cauvery River. The special occasion is commemorated by people preparing traditional food and offering prayers to the Goddess Kaveri. Kaveri Shankarama is the only festival in Coorg during which only vegetarian food is served.
Usually celebrated at the end of November or early December, Puttari is when the entire family gets together to mark the beginning of a new harvest season. As per tradition, the families pray for a plentiful year. This is followed by the lady of the house leading a procession into the paddy fields with a lamp in her hands. Then, the rice is collected and carried home as an offering to the Gods, while some of it is preserved as a sign of prosperity. The house is decorated with mango leaves, bananas and flowers, and a special meal consisting of thambuttu, kadambuttu, holige and puttari paayasa is prepared on the occasion.
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