Telangana the land of tribes glittering with myriads of true tribal cultures and historical heritage remains as the pride of Deccan state. To cherish the true cultures of ancient tribes of Telangana, Nagoba Jathara is the perfect time to explore the hidden treasure of Telangana cultures and rituals. Known as India’s second-largest tribal festival, Nagoba festival is the most important culture and tradition of Mesram clan who thronged to Nagoba temple in Keslapur from their tribal hamlets.
Nagoba Jathara – Keslapur
Nestled in the heart of thick woods of Keslapur village of Adilabad, Nagoba temple is the most important religious shrine of Mesram clan. During the month of Hindu calendar Pushya, the people from Mesram clan visit Keslapur Nagoba temple to offer special rituals to the serpentine god Nagoba. The traditions of Mesram clan remains forever with Nagoba Jathara and marked their own glory on the historical walls of Telangana. From centuries, Mesaram clan people walk on barefoot to reach Nagoba temple from hundreds of kilometres from their tribes. Hundreds of tribes not only from Telangana but from other states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh and Odisha visit Nagoba temple during the fair.
Legends over Nagoba Temple
There exist many legends over the famous Nagoba temple and there is no evidence about when the Nagoba jathara commenced. According to one of the legend, once upon a time, the serpentine god Nagendra appeared in a celestial dream of Gond queen Nagayamothi and said she will give birth to him in the form of a snake. Later, the queen married her son with Gauri, daughter of her brother and asked her to take his son to mighty river Godavari. The snake turned out into a man after seeing Gauri taking bath in the river Godavari. But, after a mistake of Gauri, he again turned into a snake. Later, Gauri searched a lot for her husband but in vain and she sacrificed her life by drenching herself in Satyavathi Gundam(river Godavari) in Dharmapuri.
After the incident, Nagendra passed orders to Mesram clan to introduce newly married couples in the temple and disappeared into the forest. The place where he disappeared is present Keslapur village and temple was erected at that place. Gonds believe that during the no moon day (Amavasya) of Pushya month serpentine god Nagendra will visit the temple and appeared before the devotees. As per another legend, once serpent god Nagoba made an angry visit to Keslapur to punish king Padiyor over his misdoings. But, he was pacified by Gond kings by offering seven types of Naivedyam to him. From then, the Mesram clan women offers seven types of naivedyam to the serpent god Nagoba.
Nagoba Jathara is a perfect destination to catch a glimpse of the unique traditions and rituals of tribal people. Every Mesram clan community people will throng to this temple during the fair. Mesram clan consists of surnames Madavi, Marsakola, Purka, Mesram, Vedma, Pandra. As per the rituals, Mesram community people throng to Keslapur on barefoot 15 days ahead of Nagoba Jathara to bring sacred waters of Godavari to offer prayers to Nagoba on Amavasya. At first, the Mesram people will visit Nagoba temple and will take Jhari a 1500-year-old brass vessel and make a beeline to Astha Madugu in Kalamdugu Mandalam traversing through meanders of hills and forest. It is believed that the once serpent god Nagendra appeared to Mesaram clan community people while they are taking bath in the pond and the people considered it as a sacred destination for them. The tribes will take the water in newly made earthen pots and return to Nagoba temple and stay under a sacred banyan tree and offer rituals to Nagoba on Amavasya with these waters.
The most important tradition of the festival is Beting Kiyi Val means introducing the new bride to the elders of the clan to the god Nagoba. Until this process completed, no new bride is allowed to worship or to visit Nagoba. Praja Darbar is also cynosure of the fair in which government officials hear the problems of tribes and it was first started in 1942 by prof Hemendarf.
Words fall short to narrate the beauty of the tribal fair one must have to pay a visit to experience traditions to the core. A sojourn to Keslapur will remain ever in your heart as it traverses through lavish nature amidst the chirpings of birds, hills and tribal hamlets.