The Suggi Huggi Jaatre was held on Jan 14th, 2018 at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore, India.
(Suggi translates to harvest festival, Huggi is a kind of porridge served at the festival and Jaatre is a Mela or Village fair)
This day long event that began at 10 am and ended after 7 pm, was yet another run up event that was conducted in order to raise awareness about the upcoming Organics Millets International Trade Fair, Jan 19th-21st, 2018 (OMITF 2018) that will happen at the Palace Grounds, Main Gate at Vasanthnagar, Bangalore. This is conducted by the Govt of Karnataka, Dept of Agriculture.
The Suggi Huggi Jaatre was the result of a commendable joint effort of the Kannada and Culture Dept, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Horticulture, Govt of Karnataka.
The Agriculture Minister Shri Krishna Byre Gowda and the Commissioner Shri Satish G, graced the event and whole heartedly took part in many of the activities.
A very well organised event, this gave urban dwellers a glimpse of our villages and traditions and the crowd of over 25,000 excited city folk thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the resultant experience.
Read all about it and delight yourselves with these visuals that I have clicked and compiled for you.
The Venue –
Lalbagh Botanical gardens provided a very suitable venue for the event. Life sized fibreglass oxen, the animal that is so representative of our fields, stood sentinel at the main entrance, greeting visitors as they entered the gates that were decorated with thatched palms and floral arrangements.
A large stage was set up at the end of the driveway, facing the shamiana which offered the much needed shade for the seating that was provided for the audience.
There were rows of stalls with harvest related displays from communities belonging to different parts of the state, some of whom were as colorful as their stall decor 😀 especially the Lambanis.
Colorful Sankranthi pots, jaggery, sugarcane, millet heaps, flowers, lamps and stalks of rice and millets were prominently used in the decor. Hand made crafts, kites and grains were also available on sale.
Food, the most important part of any Indian festival, was served at the various stalls that were selling millet and organic based dishes.
There were several dance troupes attired in their traditional bright hues, representing the various communities and culture of this diverse state of Karnataka. Some of them were the Coorg folk dancers, the Kangilu dancers from South Kanara and Folk dancers from Bellary.
Colorfully decked up bullock carts were guided by experienced farmers and they served to provide joy rides to families and children and they were also popular Selfie stations. And the well behaved bullocks ensured that no one was Butted in the Butt while clicking selfies 😀
The Start of the proceedings –
The troupes lined up at the entrance and greeted the Minister with drum beats and dancing and he was then led up the driveway in a mini procession.
Always game to wholly immerse himself in the proceedings, he went on a bullock cart ride, took part in stirring the gigantic pot of Huggi (the traditional porridge like dish prepared at this festival), visited all the stalls and performed Raashi puja (the harvest ceremony where heaps of grain are venerated in a show of thanksgiving) and inaugurated the Kite flying ceremony by distributing kites to children who had come from orphanges.
The various events –
Sankranthi marks the change in season and in keeping with the theme, the over enthusiastic Bangalore climate decided to skip spring and mimic summer 😀 The blazing sun however, did not seem to deter the eager kite flyers and neither did it faze the Minister and Commissioner. The Kite flying took place on the rocky hillock that is one of Lalbaghs landmarks and everyone energetically clambered to the top, hoping to get the wind to cooperate.
Happy to say that the minister and commissioner managed to have their kites soar to an impressive height 😀 … as great as the effect of the OMITF2018 is hoped to spread !!!
Enterprising refreshment stalls took care of those on the hot peak and the selfie booth had its share of enthusiasts as always 😀
The ever present message calling people to the OMITF2018, was also perched atop the hillock.
Photo shoots of the Dept officials pledging to LetsMillet and photo ops with the signature OM2018 bouquet preceeded the descent and the crowd then went down to enjoy bullock cart rides and folk songs and dances that were ongoing at ground level.
Complimentary Huggi both sweet and savory, was distributed by the Akshaya Patra Foundation to thousands of people in a commendable effort that took care to utilize only Areca fibre serve ware.
My lunch was a plate that had the signature items of the festival. A delightful platter bearing Millet curd rice, boiled groundnuts, sweet potato, sugarcane bits, the traditional Yellu bella – Sesame and jaggery combination and delicious whole hyacinth beans (avare kaalu) boiled whole in salted water … and I learnt a new way of cooking them !!! Forgive the extreme orange hue of the food, the color of the stall roof is to be blamed 😀
Kichu Haayisu was another typical event that was conducted where cattle are made to jump over burning stalks. The rationale being that they will then be rid of insects. They are then bathed and fed.
The events continued through the day right till evening when the sun decided to loosen its grasp and release the earth from its power. The evening was cooler and much more pleasant and saw many more visitors to the fair.
This event was a true eye opener to the various ways which the same festival is conducted by different communities and regions of Karnataka. One state, diverse cultures.
The Minister made his concluding speech and urged everyone to visit the upcoming OMITF2018 which is going to be a highly enriching and interesting experience.