A four-day mega indigenous tribal festival 'Sammakka Saralamma Jatara 'Medaram Jatara' began on Wednesday at Medaram in Mulugu district of Telangana. As many as a crore people are expected to attend the festival in a span of four days. One of the largest tribal festivals in the world, the Medaram Jatara will conclude on February 8. Besides devotees from the neighbouring states and across the country, several VVIPs are also expected to visit the Jatara, which takes place in a dense forest, located along the river Godavari.
Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar held a review meeting with senior officials on the arrangements made for the devotees. According to security officials, Governor Tamilsai Soundararajan, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and several others are expected to visit the Jatara on 7 February.
Around 10,000 policemen are being deployed to oversee security arrangements, traffic and crowd management.
V Satyanarayana, a senior IPS Officer on Special Duty (OSD) said that all the necessary arrangements were made to ensure a hassle-free and smooth management of the festival. According to the officer, as many as five Additional SPs and 14 DySPs, 44 Inspector rank officers and 125 Sub Inspectors along with 2000 police personnel guard the main area.
The Jatara was declared a state festival by the state government in 1998,. During the festival, tribal devotees offer obeisance to goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Saralamma, both women warriors of Koya tribe. As per folklore, the festival commemorates with the fight of Sammakka and Saralamma against the oppression of Kakatiya rulers.
On Wednesday, Goddess Saralamma/Sarakka will be brought in procession to the Medaram gadde (main venue) from Kannepally along with Govindaraju from Kondayi and Pagididdaraju from Poonugondla. On Thursday, the main deity Sammakka will be brought in procession from Chilakalagutta (parrots hillock) to the main venue.
The devotees will offer their tributes to the goddesses by gifting them jaggery, which is called 'Bangaram'. On the last day of the Jatara, the goddesses will make 'Vana Pravesham' (re-entering into forests). The offerings, puja and the rituals will be conducted as per the Adivasi customs by Koya priests.