Mailaralinga festival to be a subdued affair this year

In compliance with COVID-19 guidelines issued by govts., Ballari administration decides to restrict the number of devotees

In compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines issued by State and Union governments, Ballari Deputy Commissioner Pavan Kumar Malapati has decided to restrict the participation of devotees in the annual Mailaralinga festival and Karnikotsava celebrations.

During a meeting convened at his office on Monday for discussing the issue, Mr. Malapati made it clear that the entry of devotees other than the residents of Mailara village in Huvina Hadagali taluk will be barred during the festivities scheduled to be held between February 19 and March 2, 2021.

Tens of thousands of people from Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States participate in the annual festivities conducted in Mailara village every year.

Karnikotsava (prophecy) celebrations (in which a designated Gorava jumps from the top of a vertical poll after predicting an important event in the days to come and is caught by the devotees below) specifically attracts thousands of people.

โ€œThe participation of the public, except for the native villagers, in the Mailara festivities will strictly be restricted. Only Mailara villagers will be allowed to hold the festivities in a simple manner. The Police Department should ensure that none from outside enters the village during the festival. The decision on the restrictions should be publicised across the State, especially in the neighbouring districts from where a considerable number of devotees are expected to come,โ€ Mr. Malapati told the officers concerned.

He directed the police to close all the entry points to Mailara village and take steps to suspend all commercial activities around the village during the festival.

โ€œThe Mailara Jatre will be held as usual. All the amenities will be provided by the district administration. There will be no restrictions on rituals. The only thing is that they will be restricted to the villagers and no outsider will be allowed to participate in them,โ€ Mr. Malapati said.

Speaking on Karnikotsava, the Deputy Commissioner made it clear that the ritual will also be held under vigilance and directed the officials concerned to make microphones and loudspeaker arrangements so that the prophecy could be heard clearly.

โ€œDue to the restrictions this year, many people will not be able to participate in the Karnikotsava and hear the prophecy on their own. The officers should make arrangements to record the prophecy using modern recording equipment and release audio and video clips on social media so that those who are not able to attend the event could get it,โ€ he said.

He also directed the public transport authorities to cut down even regular bus services, leave alone operating special bus services, to Mailara during the festival.

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