News – The four-day ‘Sammakka – Saralamma Jatara’ at Medaram in Telangana has begun. Considered the biggest tribal festival across South Asia, the Jatara witnesses a huge number of devotees thronging the village to take the blessings of Goddess Sammaka-Saralamma.
Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.
Facts about Jatara –
- Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara held by forest dwelling Koya tribe of Telangana and surrounding States, is the biggest Tribal festival in Asia which is attended by one crore people on an average. It is believed that after Kumbh mela, the Medaram Jatara attracts the largest number of devotees in the country.
- Hundreds of Devotees jostled to touch the priests who carry out the deity- a bamboo pole wrapped with a red cloth and a casket of vermillion. While women rolled on the ground, expecting the priests to walk over them.
- The event is held biennial to honour the twin goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Sarakka. People offer Bangaram (Jaggery) to the goddesses and take holy bath in Jampanna Vagu (stream) which is a tributary of river Godavari.
- Several communities in Telangana society support Jatara as it is also a mythical narrative of two tribal women leaders who fought against the Kakatiya rulers who tried to annex their land and forests. According to the myth it was Sammakka’s curse which caused gradual decline and death of Kakatiya rule.
- The festival was declared as the state festival of Andhra Pradesh, present Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in 1998.