1 Zolotaxe

Makar Sankranti Essay In Kannada Language Literature

For other uses, see Karnataka (disambiguation).

Karnataka
State

Mysore Palace, the former seat of the Wodeyar dynasty, is one of Karnataka's main tourist attractions.


Map of Karnataka
Coordinates (Bangalore): 12°58′N77°30′E / 12.97°N 77.50°E / 12.97; 77.50Coordinates: 12°58′N77°30′E / 12.97°N 77.50°E / 12.97; 77.50
Country India
Formation1 November 1956
(as Mysore State)
Capital
and largest city
Bangalore (Bengaluru)
Districts
Government
 • BodyGovernment of Karnataka
 • GovernorVajubhai Vala
 • Chief MinisterSiddaramaiah (INC)
 • LegislatureBicameral (224 + 75 seats)
 • High CourtKarnataka High Court
Area[1]
 • Total191,791 km2 (74,051 sq mi)
Area rank7th
Highest elevation1,925 m (6,316 ft)
Lowest elevation0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total61,130,704
 • Rank8th
 • Density320/km2 (830/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Kannadiga
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-KA
Official languagesKannada[3]
Literacy75.60% (2011 census)[4]
HDI 0.6176 (medium)
HDI rank8th (2015)[5]
Websitewww.karnataka.gov.in
Symbols of Karnataka[6]
EmblemGandaberunda
LanguageKannada, Tulu, Kodava, Konkani,Byari
SongJaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate
DanceYakshagana
AnimalAsian elephant
BirdIndian Roller
FlowerLotus
TreeSandalwood

Karnataka is a state in the south western region of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. The state corresponds to the Carnatic region. The capital and largest city is Bangalore (Bengaluru).

Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south. The state covers an area of 191,976 square kilometres (74,122 sq mi), or 5.83 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the seventh largest Indian state by area. With 61,130,704 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Karnataka is the eighth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada, one of the classical languages of India, is the most widely spoken and official language of the state alongside Konkani, Tulu, Tamil, Telugu, Kodava, Beary. Karnataka also has the only 3 naturally Sanskrit-speaking districts in India.

The two main river systems of the state are the Krishna and its tributaries, the Bhima, Ghataprabha, Vedavathi, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra, in the north, and the Kaveri and its tributaries, the Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavati, Lakshmana Thirtha and Kabini, in the south. Most of these rivers flow out of Karnataka eastward, reaching the sea at the Bay of Bengal.

Though several etymologies have been suggested for the name Karnataka, the generally accepted one is that Karnataka is derived from the Kannada words karu and nādu, meaning "elevated land". Karu nadu may also be read as karu, meaning "black", and nadu, meaning "region", as a reference to the black cotton soil found in the Bayalu Seeme region of the state. The British used the word Carnatic, sometimes Karnatak, to describe both sides of peninsular India, south of the Krishna.[7]

With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. The philosophers and musical bards patronised by these empires launched socio-religious and literary movements which have endured to the present day. Karnataka has contributed significantly to both forms of Indian classical music, the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions.

History[edit]

Main articles: History of Karnataka, Political history of medieval Karnataka, and Etymology of Karnataka

Karnataka's pre-history goes back to a paleolithic hand-axe culture evidenced by discoveries of, among other things, hand axes and cleavers in the region.[8] Evidence of neolithic and megalithic cultures have also been found in the state. Gold discovered in Harappa was found to be imported from mines in Karnataka, prompting scholars to hypothesise about contacts between ancient Karnataka and the Indus Valley Civilisation ca. 3300 BCE.[9][10]

Prior to the third century BCE, most of Karnataka formed part of the Nanda Empire before coming under the Mauryan empire of Emperor Ashoka. Four centuries of Satavahana rule followed, allowing them to control large areas of Karnataka. The decline of Satavahana power led to the rise of the earliest native kingdoms, the Kadambas and the Western Gangas, marking the region's emergence as an independent political entity. The Kadamba Dynasty, founded by Mayurasharma, had its capital at Banavasi;[11][12] the Western Ganga Dynasty was formed with Talakad as its capital.[13][14]

These were also the first kingdoms to use Kannada in administration, as evidenced by the Halmidi inscription and a fifth-century copper coin discovered at Banavasi.[15][16] These dynasties were followed by imperial Kannada empires such as the Badami Chalukyas,[17][18] the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta[19][20] and the Western Chalukya Empire,[21][22] which ruled over large parts of the Deccan and had their capitals in what is now Karnataka. The Western Chalukyas patronised a unique style of architecture and Kannada literature which became a precursor to the Hoysala art of the 12th century.[23][24] Parts of modern-day Southern Karnataka (Gangavadi) were occupied by the Chola Empire at the turn of the 11th century.[25] The Cholas and the Hoysalas fought over the region in the early 12th century before it eventually came under Hoysala rule.[25]

At the turn of the first millennium, the Hoysalas gained power in the region. Literature flourished during this time, which led to the emergence of distinctive Kannada literary metres, and the construction of temples and sculptures adhering to the Vesara style of architecture.[26][27][28][29] The expansion of the Hoysala Empire brought minor parts of modern Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under its rule. In the early 14th century, Harihara and Bukka Raya established the Vijayanagara empire with its capital, Hosapattana (later named Vijayanagara), on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the modern Bellary district. The empire rose as a bulwark against Muslim advances into South India, which it completely controlled for over two centuries.[30][31]

In 1565, Karnataka and the rest of South India experienced a major geopolitical shift when the Vijayanagara empire fell to a confederation of Islamic sultanates in the Battle of Talikota.[32] The Bijapur Sultanate, which had risen after the demise of the Bahmani Sultanate of Bidar, soon took control of the Deccan; it was defeated by the Moghuls in the late 17th century.[33][34] The Bahmani and Bijapur rulers encouraged Urdu and Persian literature and Indo-Saracenic architecture, the Gol Gumbaz being one of the high points of this style.[35] During the sixteenth century, Konkani Hindus migrated to Karnataka, mostly from Salcette, Goa,[36] while during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, Goan Catholics migrated to North Canara and South Canara, especially from Bardes, Goa, as a result of food shortages, epidemics and heavy taxation imposed by the Portuguese.[37]

In the period that followed, parts of northern Karnataka were ruled by the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maratha Empire, the British, and other powers.[38] In the south, the Mysore Kingdom, a former vassal of the Vijayanagara Empire, was briefly independent.[39] With the death of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, Haidar Ali, the commander-in-chief of the Mysore army, gained control of the region. After his death, the kingdom was inherited by his son Tipu Sultan.[40] To contain European expansion in South India, Haidar Ali and later Tipu Sultan fought four significant Anglo-Mysore Wars, the last of which resulted in Tippu Sultan's death and the incorporation of Mysore into the British Raj in 1799.[41] The Kingdom of Mysore was restored to the Wodeyars and Mysore remained a princely state under the British Raj.

As the "doctrine of lapse" gave way to dissent and resistance from princely states across the country, Kittur Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna and others spearheaded rebellions in Karnataka in 1830, nearly three decades before the Indian Rebellion of 1857. However, Kitturu was taken over by the British East India Company even before the doctrine was officially articulated by Lord Dalhousie in 1848.[42] Other uprisings followed, such as the ones at Supa, Bagalkot, Shorapur, Nargund and Dandeli. These rebellions — which coincided with the Indian Rebellion of 1857 – were led by Mundargi Bhimarao, Bhaskar Rao Bhave, the Halagali Bedas, Raja Venkatappa Nayaka and others. By the late 19th century, the independence movement had gained momentum; Karnad Sadashiva Rao, Aluru Venkata Raya, S. Nijalingappa, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau and others carried on the struggle into the early 20th century.[43]

After India's independence, the Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, allowed his kingdom's accession to India. In 1950, Mysore became an Indian state of the same name; the former Maharaja served as its Rajpramukh (head of state) until 1975. Following the long-standing demand of the Ekikarana Movement, Kodagu- and Kannada-speaking regions from the adjoining states of Madras, Hyderabad and Bombay were incorporated into the Mysore state, under the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. The thus expanded state was renamed Karnataka, seventeen years later, in 1973.[44] In the early 1900s through the post-independence era, industrial visionaries such as Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya, born in Muddenahalli, Chikballapur district, played an important role in the development of Karnataka's strong manufacturing and industrial base.

Geography[edit]

Main articles: Geography of Karnataka, Rainfall in Karnataka, and Beaches in Karnataka

The state has three principal geographical zones:

  1. The coastal region of Karavali
  2. The hilly Malenadu region comprising the Western Ghats
  3. The Bayaluseeme region comprising the plains of the Deccan plateau

The bulk of the state is in the Bayaluseeme region, the northern part of which is the second-largest arid region in India.[45] The highest point in Karnataka is the Mullayanagiri hills in Chickmagalur district which has an altitude of 1,929 metres (6,329 ft). Some of the important rivers in Karnataka are Kaveri, Tungabhadra, Krishna, Malaprabha and the Sharavathi. A large number of dams and reservoirs are constructed across these rivers which richly add to the irrigation and hydel power generation capacities of the state.

Karnataka consists of four main types of geological formations[46] — the Archean complex made up of Dharwadschists and granitic gneisses, the Proterozoic non-fossiliferous sedimentary formations of the Kaladgi and Bhima series, the Deccan trappean and intertrappean deposits and the tertiary and recent laterites and alluvial deposits. Significantly, about 60% of the state is composed of the Archean complex which consist of gneisses, granites and charnockite rocks. Laterite cappings that are found in many districts over the Deccan Traps were formed after the cessation of volcanic activity in the early tertiary period. Eleven groups of soil orders are found in Karnataka, viz. Entisols, Inceptisols, Mollisols, Spodosols, Alfisols, Ultisols, Oxisols, Aridisols, Vertisols, Andisols and Histosols.[46] Depending on the agricultural capability of the soil, the soil types are divided into six types, viz. red, lateritic, black, alluvio-colluvial, forest and coastal soils.

Karnataka experiences four seasons. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May, the monsoon season between June and September and the post-monsoon season from October till December. Meteorologically, Karnataka is divided into three zones — coastal, north interior and south interior. Of these, the coastal zone receives the heaviest rainfall with an average rainfall of about 3,638.5 mm (143 in) per annum, far in excess of the state average of 1,139 mm (45 in). Agumbe in the Shivamogga district receives the second highest annual rainfall in India.[47] The highest recorded temperature was 45.6 °C (114 °F) at Raichur and the lowest recorded temperature was 2.8 °C (37 °F) at Bidar.

About 38,724 km2 (14,951 sq mi) of Karnataka (i.e. 20% of the state's geographic area) is covered by forests. The forests are classified as reserved, protected, unclosed, village and private forests. The percentage of forested area is slightly less than the all-India average of about 23%, and significantly less than the 33% prescribed in the National Forest Policy.[48]

Sub-divisions[edit]

Main article: Districts of Karnataka

There are 30 districts in Karnataka:

Each district is governed by a district commissioner or district magistrate. The districts are further divided into sub-divisions, which are governed by sub-divisional magistrates; sub-divisions comprise blocks containing panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.

At the 2011 census, Karnataka's ten largest cities, sorted in order of decreasing population, were Bangalore, Hubballi-Dharwad, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Gulbarga, Belagavi, Davangere, Ballary, Vijayapur and Shivamogga.

RankCityDistrictPopulation (2011)
1Bangalore (Bengaluru)Bangalore Urban8,728,906
2Hubballi-Dharwad (Hubli)Dharwad district943,857
3Mysore (Mysuru)Mysore district887,446
4Mangalore (Mangaluru)Dakshina Kannada532,031
5Gulbarga (Kalaburagi)Gulbarga district499,487
6Belgaum (Belagavi)Belgaum district490,045
7Davanagere (Davangere)Davanagere district435,128
8Bellary (Ballari)Bellary district409,444
9Vijayapur (Bijapur)Vijayapur district327,427
10Shimoga (Shivamogga)Shimoga district322,428

Demographics[edit]

Main article: Demographics of Karnataka

Population Growth 
CensusPop.
195119,402,000

196123,587,00021.6%
197129,299,00024.2%
198137,136,00026.7%
199144,977,00021.1%
200152,850,56217.5%
201161,095,29715.6%
Source:Census of India[50]

According to the 2011 census of India,[51] the total population of Karnataka was 61,095,297 of which 30,966,657 (50.7%) were male and 30,128,640 (49.3%) were female, or 1000 males for every 973 females. This represents a 15.60% increase over the population in 2001. The population density was 319 per km2 and 38.67% of the people lived in urban areas. The literacy rate was 75.36% with 82.47% of males and 68.08% of females being literate. 84.00% of the population were Hindu, 12.92% were Muslim, 1.87% were Christian, 0.72% were Jains, 0.16% were Buddhist, 0.05% were Sikh and 0.02% were belonging to other religions and 0.27% of the population did not state their religion.[52]

Kannada is the official language of Karnataka and spoken as a native language by about 66.26% of the people as of 2001. Other linguistic minorities in the state were Urdu (10.54%), Telugu (7.03%), Tamil (3.57%), Marathi (3.6%), Tulu (3.0%), Hindi (2.56%), Konkani (1.46%), Malayalam (1.33%) and Kodava Takk (0.3%).[53] In 2007 the state had a birth rate of 2.2%, a death rate of 0.7%, an infant mortality rate of 5.5% and a maternal mortality rate of 0.2%. The total fertility rate was 2.2.[54]

In the field of speciality health care, Karnataka's private sector competes with the best in the world.[55] Karnataka has also established a modicum of public health services having a better record of health care and child care than most other states of India. In spite of these advances, some parts of the state still leave much to be desired when it comes to primary health care.[56]

Government and administration[edit]

Main articles: Government of Karnataka, Karnataka Legislature, Unification of Karnataka, and Taluks of Karnataka

Karnataka has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Legislative Assembly consists of 224 members who are elected for five-year terms.[57] The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 75 members with one-third (25 members) retiring every two years.[57]

The government of Karnataka is headed by the Chief Minister who is chosen by the ruling party members of the Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers.[58] However, the constitutional and formal head of the state is the Governor who is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of the Union government.[59] The people of Karnataka also elect 28 members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.[60] The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 12 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

For administrative purposes, Karnataka has been divided into four revenue divisions, 49 sub-divisions, 30 districts, 175 taluks and 745 hoblies / revenue circles.[61] The administration in each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Karnataka state services. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service and assisted by the officers of the Karnataka Police Service, is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues in each district. The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, is entrusted with the responsibility of managing forests, environment and wildlife of the district, he will be assisted by the officers belonging to Karnataka Forest Service and officers belonging to Karnataka Forest Subordinate Service. Sectoral development in the districts is looked after by the district head of each development department such as Public Works Department, Health, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, etc. The judiciary in the state consists of the Karnataka High Court (Attara Kacheri) in Bangalore, district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluk level.

Politics in Karnataka has been dominated by three political parties, the Indian National Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party.[62] Politicians from Karnataka have played prominent roles in federal government of India with some of them having held the high positions of Prime Minister and Vice-President. Border disputes involving Karnataka's claim on the Kasaragod[63] and Solapur[64] districts and Maharashtra's claim on Belgaum are ongoing since the states reorganisation.[65] The official emblem of Karnataka has a Ganda Berunda in the centre. Surmounting this are four lions facing the four directions, taken from the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath. The emblem also carries two Sharabhas with the head of an elephant and the body of a lion.

Economy[edit]

Main articles: Economy of Karnataka, Software industry in Karnataka, Banking in Karnataka, Economy of Bangalore, and Economy of Mangalore

Karnataka had an estimated GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) of about US$115.86 billion in the 2014–15 fiscal year.[66] The state registered a GSDP growth rate of 7% for the year 2014–2015.[67] Karnataka's contribution to India's GDP in the year 2014–15 was 7.54%.[66] With GDP growth of 17.59% and per capita GDP growth of 16.04%, Karnataka is on the 6th position among all states and union territories.[68][69] In an employment survey conducted for the year 2013–2014, the unemployment rate in Karnataka was 1.8% compared to the national rate of 4.9%.[70] In 2011–2012, Karnataka had an estimated poverty ratio of 20.91% compared to the national ratio of 21.92%.[71]

Nearly 56% of the workforce in Karnataka is engaged in agriculture and related activities.[72] A total of 12.31 million hectares of land, or 64.6% of the state's total area, is cultivated.[73] Much of the agricultural output is dependent on the southwest monsoon as only 26.5% of the sown area is irrigated.[73]

Karnataka is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Earth Movers Limited and HMT (formerly Hindustan Machine Tools), which are based in Bengaluru. Many of India's premier science and technology research centres, such as Indian Space Research Organisation, Central Power Research Institute, Bharat Electronics Limited and the Central Food Technological Research Institute, are also headquartered in Karnataka. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited is an oil refinery, located in Mangalore.

The state has also begun to invest heavily in solar power centred on the Pavagada Solar Park. As of December 2017, the state has installed an estimated 2.2 gigwatts of block solar panelling and in January 2018 announced a tender to generate a further 1.2 gigawatts in the coming years: Karnataka Renewable Energy Development suggests that this will be based on 24 separate systems (or 'blocks') generating 50 megawatts each.[74]

Since the 1980s, Karnataka has emerged as the pan-Indian leader in the field of IT (information technology). In 2007, there were nearly 2,000 firms operating in Karnataka. Many of them, including two of India's biggest software firms, Infosys and Wipro, are also headquartered in the state.[75] Exports from these firms exceeded ₹50,000 crores ($12.5 billion) in 2006–07, accounting for nearly 38% of all IT exports from India.[75] The Nandi Hills area in the outskirts of Devanahalli is the site of the upcoming $22 billion, 50 square kilometre BIAL IT Investment Region, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of Karnataka.[76] All this has earned the state capital, Bangalore, the sobriquet Silicon Valley of India.[77]

Karnataka also leads the nation in biotechnology. It is home to India's largest biocluster, with 158 of the country's 320 biotechnology firms being based here.[78] The state accounts for 75% of India's floriculture, an upcoming industry which supplies flowers and ornamental plants worldwide.[79]

Seven of India's banks, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, Vijaya Bank, Karnataka Bank, ING Vysya Bank and the State Bank of Mysore originated in this state.[80] The coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada have a branch for every 500 persons—the best distribution of banks in India.[81] In March 2002, Karnataka had 4767 branches of different banks with each branch serving 11,000 persons, which is lower than the national average of 16,000.[82]

A majority of the silk industry in India is headquartered in Karnataka, much of it in Doddaballapura, and the state government intends to invest ₹70 crore in a "Silk City" at Muddenahalli, near Bangalore International Airport.[83][84]

Transport[edit]

Main articles: Transport in Karnataka, List of National Highways in Karnataka, and List of state highways in Karnataka

Air transport in Karnataka, as in the rest of the country, is still a fledgling but fast expanding sector. Karnataka has airports at Bengaluru, Mangalore, Belgaum, Hubli, Hampi, Bellary and Mysore with international operations from Bangalore and Mangalore airports.[85]

Karnataka has a railway network with a total length of approximately 3,089 kilometres (1,919 mi). Until the creation of the South Western Zone headquartered at Hubli in 2003, the railway network in the state was in the Southern and Western railway zones. Several parts of the state now come under the South Western Zone, with the remainder under the Southern Railways. Coastal Karnataka is covered under the Konkan railway network which was considered India's biggest railway project of the century.[86] Bangalore is well-connected with inter-state destinations, while other towns in the state are not.[87]

Karnataka has 11 ports, including the New Mangalore Port, a major port and ten minor ports, of which three were operational in 2012.[88] The New Mangalore port was incorporated as the ninth major port in India on 4 May 1974.[89] This port handled 32.04 million tonnes of traffic in the fiscal year 2006–07 with 17.92 million tonnes of imports and 14.12 million tonnes of exports. The port also handled 1015 vessels including 18 cruise vessels during the year 2006–07. Foreigners can enter Mangalore through the New Mangalore Port with the help of Electronic visa (e-visa).[90]Cruise ships from Europe, North America and UAE arrive at New Mangalore Port to visit the tourist places across Coastal Karnataka.[91][92]

The total lengths of National Highways and state highways in Karnataka are 3,973 and 9,829 kilometres (2,469 and 6,107 mi), respectively. The KSRTC, the state public transport corporation, transports an average of 2.2 million passengers daily and employs about 25,000 people.[93] In the late nineties, KSRTC was split into four corporations, viz., The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, The North-East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and The North-West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation with their headquarters in Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli respectively, and with the remnant of the KSRTC maintaining operations in the rest of the state from its headquarters in Bangalore.[93]

Culture[edit]

Main articles: Art and culture of Karnataka, Carnatic music, Cuisine of Karnataka, Kannada people, and Tuluvas

The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka, combined with their long histories, have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Kodavas and Konkanis. Minor populations of Tibetan Buddhists and tribes like the Soligas, Yeravas, Todas and Siddhis also live in Karnataka. The traditional folk arts cover the entire gamut of music, dance, drama, storytelling by itinerant troupes, etc. Yakshagana of Malnad and coastal Karnataka, a classical dance drama, is one of the major theatrical forms of Karnataka. Contemporary theatre culture in Karnataka remains vibrant with organisations like Ninasam, Ranga Shankara, Rangayana and Prabhat Kalavidaru continuing to build on the foundations laid by Gubbi Veeranna, T. P. Kailasam, B. V. Karanth, K V Subbanna, Prasanna and others.[94]Veeragase, Kamsale, Kolata and Dollu Kunitha are popular dance forms. The Mysore style of Bharatanatya

Sala fighting the Lion, the emblem of Hoysala Empire
Chief Minister Dr. Devaraj Urs announcing the new name of the Mysore state as 'Karnataka'
Jog Falls, formed by Sharavathi River, are the second highest plunge waterfalls in India.
GSDP Growth of the Karnatakan Economy over the previous years
Contribution to economy by sector
State flag for Karnataka unilaterally adopted during Siddaramaiah's chief ministry
The Kannada flag is widely used in Karnataka, though it is not officially recognised

For the dish, see Pongal (dish).

Thai Pongal (Tamil: தைப்பொங்கல், )is a harvest festival dedicated to the Sun. It is a four-day festival which according to the Tamil calendar is usually celebrated from January 14 to January 17.[2].

Thai Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people[3][4] in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry,[5][6] and the country of Sri Lanka,[7][8][9] as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Malaysia,[10][11]Mauritius, South Africa,[12][13] United States, Singapore,[14] Canada[15][16] and UK.[17]

The day marks the start of the sun's six-month-long journey northwards (the Uttaraayanam). This also corresponds to the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac Makara or Capricorn. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation to the Sun for a successful harvest. Part of the celebration is the boiling of the first rice of the season consecrated to the Sun.

History[edit]

The origins of the Thai Pongal festival may date to more than 1000 years ago.[4]Epigraphic evidence suggests the celebration of the Puthiyeedu during the Medieval Cholaempire days. Puthiyeedu is believed to represent the first harvest of the year.[18] Tamil people refer to Pongal as "Tamizhar Thirunaal," the festival of Tamizhs.[19]

Etymology[edit]

Thai refers to the name of the tenth month in the Tamil calendar, Thai (தை). Pongal usually means festivity or celebration;[20] more specifically Pongal is translated as "boiling over" or "overflow." Pongal is also the name of a sweetened dish of rice boiled with lentils that is ritually consumed on this day. Symbolically, pongal signifies the gradual heating of the earth as the Sun travels northward toward the equinox.

Though TAMIL THAI PONGAL does not have any connection with Makara Sankranthi, Pongal day coincides with Makara Sankranthi which is celebrated throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

NameRegion
Thai PongalTamil Nadu
Makara SankranthiAndhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Telangana Uttar Pradesh
UttarayanaGujarat and Rajasthan
MaghiHaryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
Magh Bihu/Bhogali BihuAssam
Maghe SankrantiorMakar SankrantiNepal
ShakrainBangladesh

Pongal dish[edit]

Main article: Pongal (dish)

Besides rice and milk the ingredients of this sweet dish include cardamom, raisins, Green gram (split), and cashew nuts. Cooking is done in sunlight, usually in a porch or courtyard, as the dish is dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. The cooking is done in a clay pot that is decorated with coloured patterns called kolam. Pongal has two variants, one sweet and one savoury. The dish is served on banana leaves.

Cooking pongal is a traditional practice at Hindu temples during any part of the Temple Festival in Tamil Nadu.

Days of the festival[edit]

Bhogi Festival[edit]

The day preceding Pongal is called Bhogi. On this day people discard old belongings and celebrate new possessions. The disposal of worn-out items is similar to the traditions of Holika in North India. The people assemble at dawn in Tamil Nadu to light a bonfire in order to burn the discards. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated to give a festive look. The horns of oxen and buffaloes are painted in villages. In Tamil Nadu farmers keep medicinal herb (neem, avram, sankranti) in northeast corner of each fields, to prevent crops from diseases and pests.

Bhogi is also observed on the same day in Andhra Pradesh. In the ceremony called Bhogi Pallu, fruits of the harvest such as regi pallu and sugar cane are collected along with flowers of the season. Money is often placed into a mixture of treats and is poured over children. The children then separate and collect the money and sweet fruits.

This day is celebrated in Punjab as Lohri and in Assam as Magh Bihu / Bhogali Bihu.

Thai Pongal[edit]

The main event, also known as Thai Pongal, takes place on the second of the four days. This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi, a winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India. The day marks the start of the Uttarayana, the day of the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac i.e. Makara or Capricorn.

In the Tamil language the word Pongu means "overflowing," signifying abundance and prosperity.

During the festival, milk is cooked in a vessel. When it starts to bubble and overflows out of the vessel, freshly harvested rice grains are added to the pot. At the same time other participants blow a conch called the sanggu and shout "Pongalo Pongal!"[21] They also recite "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" ("the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities"). This is repeated frequently during the Pongal festival. The Pongal[22] is then served to everyone in the house along with savories and sweets such as vadai, murukku, paayasam.

Tamilians decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and embellish the floor with decorative patterns drawn using rice flour.[5]kolams/rangolis are drawn on doorsteps. Family elders present gifts to the young.

The Sun stands for "IYENGAR BRAHMAN" - the manifest God, who symbolizes the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one and all tirelessly. The Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial wheel of time.

Maattu Pongal[edit]

Maattu Pongal is celebrated the day after Thai Pongal. Tamils regard cattle as sources of wealth for providing dairy products, fertilizer, and labor for plowing and transportation. On Maattu Pongal, cattle are recognized and afforded affectionately. Features of the day include games such as the Jallikkattu and taming bull.[23]

Kanu Pidi is a tradition for women and young girls. During Kanu Pidi women feed birds and pray for their brothers' well being. As part of the "Kaka pidi, Kanu pidi" feast women and girls place a feast of colored rice, cooked vegetables, banana and sweet pongal on ginger or turmeric leaves for crows to share and enjoy. During this time women offer prayers in the hope that brother-sister ties remain forever strong as they do in a crow family.[citation needed]

On this day celebrants bathe and decorate their cattle with garlands. Cows are decorated with manjalthanni (turmeric water) and oil. Shikakai apply kungumam (kumkum) to their foreheads, paint their horns, and feed them a mixture of venn pongal, jaggery, honey, banana and other fruits. In the evening people pray to Lord Ganesh. One ritual is to light a torch of coconut leaves and carry it around cattle three times and then run to the border of the village to drop it. This is believed to remove the evil influences caused by the jealousy of other people over the cattle.[citation needed]

Kaanum Pongal (Kanni Pongal)[edit]

Kaanum Pongal, the fourth day of the festival, marks the end of Pongal festivities for the year. The word kaanum in this context means "to visit." Many families hold reunions on this day. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords present gifts of food, clothes and money to their tenants. Villagers visit relatives and friends while in the cities people flock to beaches and theme parks with their families. Celebrants chew sugar cane and again decorate their houses with kolam. Relatives and friends receive thanks for their assistance supporting the harvest.

In Andhra Pradesh, Mukkanuma, the final day of Sankranthi festival, is celebrated by worshiping cattle. Mukkanuma is famous among non-vegetarians. People do not eat non-vegetarian dishes during the first three days of the festival, saving them for the day of Mukkanuma.

U.S. Observance[edit]

In 2017, Delegate David Bulova introduced a joint resolution HJ573 in the Virginia House of Delegates to designate January 14 of each year as Pongal Day.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^"2017 Marathi Calendar Panchang". Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  2. ^"Pongal - Harvest Festival". 
  3. ^"Thai Pongal celebrated across the globe". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  4. ^ ab"Meaning of 'Thai Pongal' - TAMIL NADU - The Hindu". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  5. ^ abEllis, Royston (19 July 2011). , 4th: The Bradt Travel Guide. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-84162-346-7. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  6. ^Richmond, Simon (15 January 2007). Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Lonely Planet. p. 490. ISBN 978-1-74059-708-1. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  7. ^"Jaffna Hindu College :: Thai Pongal tomorrow, Thursday 15 Jan 2015". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  8. ^"Thai Pongal தை பொங்கல் Festival 2015 | University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  9. ^"Washington Embassy celebrates Thai Pongal | Embassy of Sri Lanka – Washington DC USA". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  10. ^"Malaysian Prime Minister Greets Ethnic Tamils on Pongal". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  11. ^"Najib extends Pongal wishes to Indian community | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  12. ^".:: Midrand Hindu Dharma Sabha | Hindu Festivals - Prayer Dates - Religious Calendar - 2015 - 2016 ::". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  13. ^"History of the Tamil Diaspora (V. Sivasupramaniam)". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  14. ^"Newspaper Full Page - The Straits Times, 14 January 1937, Page 5". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  15. ^"Minister Kenney issues statement to mark Thai Pongal". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  16. ^"» Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on Thai Pongal". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  17. ^"Community celebrates Thai Pongal harvest festival (From Harrow Times)". Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  18. ^"Thai Pongal". sangam.org. 
  19. ^"Tamizhs festival". ntyo.org. 
  20. ^Sachchidananda; Prasad, R. R. (1996). Encyclopaedic profile of Indian tribes. Discovery Publishing House. p. 183. ISBN 978-81-7141-298-3. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  21. ^Pongal Harvest Festival
  22. ^Pongal Tamil Festival
  23. ^"ஏறு தழுவுதல் (ஜல்லிக்கட்டு) வரலாறு". tamil.oneindia.com. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 

References[edit]

  • Saveri, Nicholapillai Maria (2001). Jaffna The Land of the Lute. Thirumarai Kalamanram Publications. p. 125. ISBN 0-9681597-0-2. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pongal.

Decorations

Kolam drawn in front of houses

Newly cooked rice and savouries prepped for celebrating pongal.

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