Udupi temple chariot getting ready for fest

The Hindu, 16-11-2010 06:04:04

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There were families dedicated to construction of chariots’


The Garuda Ratha of Sri Krishna Math in Udupi.


Udupi: The chariots or ‘rathas’ add beauty and grandeur to festivals at Sri Krishna Math here. But the construction of domes of the chariots and tying of small flags to these domes is an intricate task.


The construction of domes and tying of small flags to two rathas – the “Garuda Ratha” (medium chariot) and “Mahapuja Ratha” (small chariot) is done before “Uthana Dwadashi” while the same is done to the biggest chariot — “Brahma Ratha” — between November 15 and December 15. Vittala Mestri at Sri Krishna Math, who had been supervising the work of construction of domes and tying of flags, told The Hindu on Wednesday that these chariots would be used for seven months. Then the small flags and domes were dismantled and the rathas were kept inside at the end of May, when the rainy season starts.


The construction of the domes and later tying of the small flags, which add to the beauty of the chariots, was an elaborate process. The construction of the dome was done by using areca wood material. The alignment of all wood poles had to be done properly. “If there is any faulty alignment, then the chariot may tilt to one side. Hence the alignment has to be perfect,” said Mr. Mestri. Govinda Sherigar, who had been doing this work for a long time, said: “This work requires a lot of dedication”. Madhava Sherigar, who does the same work, said he started doing this work since he was young. Sadananda Sherigar said that he knew this work well as he used to watch his father do the task. After the dome was constructed, small flags were tied to it.


As many as 7,000 small yellow flags and 1,500 small red flags were required for the “Brahma Ratha”. The “Garuda Ratha” requires 6,000 yellow flags and 1,200 red flags.


The Mahapuja Ratha requires 2,500 yellow flags and 700 red flags.


The “Garuda Ratha” and “Mahapuja Ratha” would be ready before November 18.


“Earlier, there were families dedicated to this work of construction of the domes and tying flags to the chariots, but now only a few people associated with these families know the work,” said Mr. Mestri

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