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Bengaluru Karaga Festival – Dharmaraya Swamy Temple Festival 2025

Bengaluru Karaga festival celebrates and honors Draupadi of Mahabharata as the ideal woman and the Goddess of Strength (Shakti). The festival is held at the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple. Bengaluru Karaga festival 2025 date is April 12. The festival begins on April 2, 2025 and concludes with the famous Karaga procession on the night of April 12. Depicting the cultural and religious heritage of Karnataka, the festival is particularly associated with the Thigala community, whose ancestors are from neighboring Tamil Nadu. The 11-day festival has a history of more than 300 years.

Draupadi is the kuladevata of Vanihikula Kshatriyas or Thigala community. Karaga attracts more than 500,000 devotees and tourists from different parts the city and state. It takes place at the famous Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Thigalarpet, Bengaluru. The procession begins at around 12:00 AM and continues till 6:00 AM.

Bengaluru Karaga Festival Story

According to the legend, following the famous Kurushetra war, Draupadi created an army of soldiers called Veerakumaras to fight a demon called Timirasura. After the defeat of the demon, when the Pandavas were ascending the heaven, the army asked Draupadi to stay back but she refused and promised them that she would come back to earth once every year.

The festival culminates with the famous procession - Draupadi Devi Karaga Shakthyotsava. The meaning of 'Karaga' is a mud pot. Karaga is carried on the head of a bearer on which a tall floral pyramid and an murti of the Goddess is balanced. The contents of the pot have remained a secret for centuries. 

The person carrying the Karaga is dressed up in a woman's attire. He balances the Karaga on his head without touching it. His arrival at the festival is announced by hundreds of ‘veerakumaras’, who are clad in dhotis and turbans, bearing unsheathed swords.

The bearer's wife takes on the role of a widow at the festival. Her mangalsutra and bangles are worn by her husband throughout the festival and she barred from seeing him or the Karaga until the end of the festival.

The night-long procession is the highlight of the festival and is held on the full moon night and starts from the temple around midnight.

To mark the end of the celebrations, devotees splash turmeric water on each other and immerse the Karaga in the salt water pond.

The regular route of the procession is through Nagarthpete, Cubbonpete, Ganigarapete, Avenue Road, Doddapete, Aralepete, Balepete, Kumbarpete, Ulsoorpete and Gollarapete.

The annual procession is held on the full moon day in Chaitra month as per traditional Kannada  Hindu lunar calendar followed in Karnataka.