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Drowpathy Amman Fire Walking Festival 2018

Devotees getting ready for fire walk
Devotees getting ready for fire walk

The Hindu’s celebrate Drowpathy Amman Fire Walking festival every year in the southern part of India and in some countries with the south Indian population. The roots of this festival is traced back to the epic Mahabharata, in which, Draupathi, the wife of the five Pandava brothers, walked on the fire to prove her chastity.

Fire Walking Festival in Bengaluru

The Drowpathy Amman Fire Walking Festival is celebrated in the RBANMS ground Bengaluru every year in the month of June. A huge crowd gather to witness the event where hundreds of devotees step in to the fire.

Devotees of all age and gender participate in the fire walking festival as a homage to Draupathi. They walk on fire with their bodies smeared with turmeric and plenty of lemons tied to their waist. Some of them carry a deity on their head and some male devotees dress like woman to imitate the goddess.

Kumar Naidu Story

Last Sunday, we were riding near Lavanya theatre when Satya told me about the Drowpathy Amman Fire Walking festival at the RBANMS ground. Unsure of what it will be like, I let my Yamaha Ray zoom into the ground.

fire walking pit
Members preparing fire pit for the fire walk

The ground was getting ready for the fire walking festival where about six hundred devotees would step on the fire. Heaps of woods were set on fire that eventually turned into small chunks of hot coal in few hours. Preparing a fire pit for the fire walk seemed to be a toughest task as I saw the members painstakingly pulling out the uneven chunks of hot coal using a long wooden stick and sometimes with their bare hands.

Arrangements for guests & VIPs

The tents were setup with chair for the pass holders and VIPs to sit and watch the event. The special guests were yet to come and the tents were empty.  A boundary was marked with the wooden poles to allow only the firewalkers near the fire pit and the other devotees to circumbulate outside the boundary.

The rain stopped abruptly

The June month gives lots of rain to Bengaluru and the ground did not give any protection to the fire. It was raining in a manner that a normal person would run towards a shelter but the crowd here did not care. The only worry was the rain suppressing the fire and all the hard work going in vain. Surprisingly the rain stopped abruptly as if being commanded by some invisible power so the Drowpathy Amman Festival could go on smoothly.

Lord Dharmaraja and Goddess Draupathi Arrive

The wooden car with the statue of the deities, Lord Dharmaraja and Goddess Draupathi arrives into the ground. The priest performed the rituals while other devotees were busy with their work preparing for the event.

Dharmaraja & Drowpathy Amman
Dharmaraja & Drowpathy Amman

I heard the announcement about the ritual starting in an hour and stood in the best possible place. I did not carry my Sony Alpha 5100 with me and managed to capture the events with my Samsung phone. The gathering was so huge that I had to literally step backwards, and for this reason and could not capture the actual fire-walking moment.

The chief guests arrived before the start of the event and they consisted of popular names from political backgrounds and from different religions. The drummers were generating the best possible sound to lift the mood of the onlookers. Photographers and journalists were also present to report the event.

Fire Walking Starts

The fire walking started as the principal walkers paved way for others. Two or three devotees started running on the fire at a time. It continued for several minutes and the crowd cheered them all chanting god’s name. The devotees who came out of the fire gave out the lemons to the crowd and I managed to get one.

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