The Bull Temple Road in Basavangudi on Sunday wore a festive look and offered a glimpse of Bengaluru that the world rarely sees. A city that is more known for its swanky IT parks and teeming pubs and now more infamous for its potholes and frothing lakes has another side to it that is often overlooked. The IT city has several traditions that have been followed for centuries now and the Kadalekai Parishe is one such annual affair that showcases a practice that is close to many Bengalureansâ€™ hearts.
Legend has it that in the 1500s, farmers from areas around present-day Basavangudi, such as Mavalli, Gavipura, Guttahalli were plagued with a unique problem. Their groundnut crop would be periodically destroyed by someone at night. When they discovered that this was the handiwork of a bull, they decided to pray to the Dodda Ganesha, whose abode is Nandi, the bull. The farmers would offer their first crop to Ganesha and Nandi and then set up stalls right outside the Dodda Ganesha Temple.
As this custom gained popularity, villagers growing groundnut from areas as far as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh started flocking to the Bull Temple Road once a year to set up kiosks. The event soon became a fete, with vendors selling local savouries like Batas and Bend (candies), ornaments for women, games for children, Kadalekai Parishe turning the Kadalekai Parishe into a staple annual family fair.
And till today, the flavour of that carnival can be witnessed, with the custom being continued, reminding the old-timers of their beloved city as it once was.
Once a year you can see families debonair and hassle-free in each otherâ€™s company, munching on groundnuts; boiled, roasted or just raw. The old world charm that Bengaluru was once known for, before the IT boom in the city (that changed everything forever, as you can hear old Bengalurians often rue) can be experienced at the Kadalekai Parishe.
Women from villages around Bengaluru visiting the city that they barely recognise now, vying with each other for customers by proffering a few more groundnuts than the others, while continuously chewing on their betal leaves,daubs the picture of the Kadalekai Parishe.
But this event that most old Bengalurians are so familiar with is still unheard of by many Bangaloreans, especially those living in the newer parts of the city for whom Bangalore is discernible mostly through its tall glass buildings, frustrating traffic and its melting-pot cosmopolitan culture. But those who have seen this city for what it was before the turn of this millennium are holding on to this bit of history, like an old parchment that will remind them of the real Namma Bengaluru.