Gangamma Jatara Brief Narration:
Tirupati Gangamma Jatara is a famous religious temple carnival in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The Festival is a favourite annual festival of Tirupati and is celebrated every year on the 2nd Tuesday of May. Goddess Gangamma is Grama Devatha ( the goddess looking after the village ). On the festival day, the devotees pray to goddess Gangamma for her blessings on Tirupati and their families.
History of Celebrating Gangamma Jatara:
Once the Palegondulu ruled Tirupati and its surrounding areas. The evil-minded rulers and harassment women and use to rape them. Their harassment had no end. During this time, the goddess Gangamma was born in the same village and became a beautiful woman. The Palegondulu heard the beauty of the goddess Gangamma and wanted to harass her. But the goddess Gangamma tried to kill them with her supernatural powers. Then the feared Palegondulu escaped from her and hid in a remote place where one could not find them. Goddess Gangamma searched for them to kill but not founded them. Then she planned to celebrate ‘Gangamma Jathara’ to Palegondulu out of hiding.
During the celebrations of Gangamma Jatara, the people wear Vichitra Veshadarana and curse Goddess Gangamma for seven days. Then the Palegondulu thought the people were against Goddess Gangamma and came out of hiding. As soon as he emerges from the hiding place, goddess Gangamma kills Palegondulu and frees the people from the harassment. Since then, the folk festival has been celebrated as Gangamma Jatara. Currently, the temple is on the banks of Thathya Gunta, so the temple is famous as ‘Thathaya Gunta Gangamma Temple’.
Gangamma Jatara Celebrations:
On the first day of the Gangamma Jatara, the celebrations start with the temple priests tying ‘Vadibalu’ to the Viswaroopa Sthambam’ in front of the temple. Some selected men roamed through the old town by beating dapples and announced that the Festival had begun and the residents should not leave the city till the Festival was over. The priests kept the big clay idol of the goddess Gangamma at the temple entrance. During these seven days, the devotees pray to goddess Gangamma and offer Pongal, Sarees, Turmeric and Kumkum. On the last day, the priests scattered the turmeric on the clay idol and smashed it at the auspicious moment. The devotees get the clay smithereens and kept in the Pooja room or mix them in the water to save them from their sins. Like this, Gangamma Jatara celebrates with great pomp.