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May 18, 2024
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Devotees Engage In Fishing Spree During This Festival In Karnataka’s Nandini River


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Nandini river flows in front of the shrine dedicated to Lord Ullaya.

Nandini river flows in front of the shrine dedicated to Lord Ullaya.

On a specific day during the festival, villagers are permitted to do fishing in the stream.

The Nandini River plays a major role in the annual festival of Lord Dharmarasu Ullaya in Khandige, Karnataka. Locally, Lord Dharmarasu Ullaya is also known as Kandevu near Aladangady in Tulu. The festival vrishabha sankramana in Tulu translates to Jatra Mahotsava which takes place in mid-May every year. Nandini river flows in front of the shrine dedicated to Lord Ullaya. On a specific day during the festival, villagers are permitted to do fishing in the stream, a practice that is forbidden throughout the rest of the year. There is a local belief that fishing outside of this tradition will result in a snake falling into the fishing trap which is a sign of bad omen.

Early in the morning, three people from Kandevu offer to hold food to the god and place it in the stream. Everyone is allowed to go down to the stream and catch fish after firing crackers. Then everyone jumps into the river with nets and catches fish. It is an impressive sight to see hundreds of people standing on both sides of the river and jumping into the water at the same time. The fishermen save what they need and sell the rest. Even though the price is a bit higher, the villagers buy fish only from these fishermen.

The temple authorities blast the firecrackers soon after offering agelu (food offering) to Lord Dharmarasu Ullaya, and then the backwater of the dam was a hive of activity.

The villagers take the fish home for guests, relatives and friends during the celebrations. It is believed that the fish caught in this ritual is tastier than those caught on normal days. Since Ullaya is a Shaiva Shakthi (the form of Lord Shiva), no madhu-mamsa (intoxicating drinks or non-vegetarian food) is offered to Ullaya and Parivara Daivas.

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