Telangana, the land of forests glittering with numerous tribes, cultures, traditions and ancient rituals. Every corner of this Deccan locale resonates age-old cultures and great historical tales of ancient kingdoms. Now, people of Telangana immersed in vibrant traditions of tribes of the Asmaka Janapadam i.e, the world’s largest tribal festival ‘Medaram Sammakka Saralamma jatara’. Millions of devotees from across the nation throng to Medaram to cherish the true traditions and unique rituals of tribal folks.
Telangana state festival Medaram Sammakka Saralamma Jatara is celebrated every two years in Tadvai in Mulugu district with much fervour. Known as the second Kumbhmela of India, Sammmakka Saralamma jatara is commemorating to the great sacrifice of Sammakka Saralamma who fought against Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudrudu. Nestled in the mid of dense forest, Medaram Sammakka Saralamma jatara witnesses zillions of devotees from across the nation. It is a one-stop destination to explore the true traditions of Telangana. Tribal dances, folklores, ancient tribal practices, fortune tellers, cascades of Jampanna Vagu, historical tales, lavish nature, chanting of goddesses, shivasathulu make this locale more special to everyone. Words fall short to narrate the beauty of this locale one must pay a visit to cherish cultures to the core.
The history behind Sammakka Saralamma Jatara
Telangana’s pride Medaram Sammakka Saralamma jatara entwined its roots with the history associated with Kakatiya rulers. According to tribal folklore, in the 13th century, some tribal leaders found a baby girl in the mid dense forest and surrounded by tigers. The head of the tribe Meda Raju who ruled Polavasa in Jagtial from 1260 to 1320 under Kakatiyas adopted and brought her as a chieftain of the tribe. On Magha Shudda Poornima (full moon day) they named the baby as Sammakka. Sammakka grabbed the hearts of tribal people with her kindness, helping nature and courage. She was married to the feudatory chief of Kaktiyas Pagidigidda Raju. The couple blessed with three children named as Sarakka, Nagulamma and Jampanna.
Sammakka fought against Kakatiya rulers
Once the locale Medaram witnessed severe drought and the tribes unable to pay taxes to the ruler Kakatiya. Angry over their dismay to pay taxes, Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra sent his army to collect the funds from Pagidigidda Raju. This resulted in ferocious battled between Kakatiyas and Pagidigidda Raju group. During the battle, Sarakka, Pagidigidda Raju, Nagulamma and Medi Raju took their last breath on the lap of Medaram forest. The legend goes that Jampanna died in Sampenga Vagu and turned the colour of the water into the red after his blood. From the devotees call the stream as Jampanna Vagu. After hearing the death news of her family, Sammakka joined the forces and attacked the Kakatiya kingdom but severely injured. She moved towards nearby forest hill Chilakalagutta and disappeared. Tribals who came in search of Sammakka found a kumkuma bharini (vermillion box) near a tree amidst tiger pugmarks. From then the tribe celebrating the festival every two years commemorating her bravery to protect the tribes.
As per another legend, Pratapa Rudra, who felt sorry about his mistake turned out into the devotee of Sammakka and commenced the celebrations of Medaram jatara for every two years. From then, the tribal fair is celebrating with much pride. Devotees take a plunge in Jampanna Vagu and visit Sammakka Saralamma gaddelu and offer animal sacrifices, Bangaram (jaggery) equal to the weight of the devotee to the tribal goddesses after fulfilling their wishes.
In honour of goddess Sammakka, the government of Telangana fires gun six times into the air to welcome the tribal deity. The locale drenched in the divinity after Sammakka arrives Medaram. The tribal fair concludes after the goddesses Sammakka, Saralamma return into the forest. Tribal priests bringing Sammakka, Saralamma to Medaram remains as the cynosure of the festival and takes every devotee into a trance and some recite future.
Medaram Sammakka, Saralamma jatara is a 1000-year-old tradition which allures with great historical legends, rituals and divinity.
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(Image courtesy: medaram official site)