Follow on

About India
Snippets of information

In this section, I am providing general information - combination of a glossary, listing of great personalities, locations & geographical landmarks, history - in general any subject related to India. I have gathered the information from various sources - books, magazines, internet, word of mouth.

General information about India - K

Kadlekkai Parishe
One of Bangalore's oldest festivals, the Kadlekkai Parishe falls during the last week of the Karthike month of the Kannada calendar. The venue is the Dodda Basavanna temple, popularly known as Bull Temple, and the Bugle Rock area in Basavanagudi, a very scenic residential area, where hundreds of vendors sit before piles of freshly harvested groundnuts, just as they have been doing for the last half a millennium.

The area was part of a cluster of villages that included Mavalli, Sunkenahalli, Hosahalli, Dasarahalli, Avalahalli, Guttahalli, Kanakanapalya, Kathriguppe, Byrasandra, Gudahalli, and others, where groundnuts fields thrived.

As is wont, there is a story behind this unusual festival. It is said that the groundnut farmers were stumped (and angered, no doubt) by someone who was feasting on their precious crop at night time. They assumed it was the handiwork of thieves and decided to catch them red-handed. Sure enough, one alert farmer heard the rustling of vegetation. However, the night was pitch black and he could not see a thing. Even so, he swung his crowbar and brought it on what he assumed a thief. It turned out to be a bull, which fell down dead, and turned into a stone even as the crowbar lay impaled in its body. It was too late the farmers learned that the bull used to come to the fields on full moon nights to not only help itself, but also to keep watch, and that the bull was the sacred Basava himself, Lord Shiva's mount. Come the next full moon and no bull appeared. The farmer who killed the bull consulted his comrades and decided to atone for his sin by constructing a temple around the stone bull. When the construction was half-complete, the farmers were aghast to see that the bull kept growing, towering over the surrounding walls. Every time the farmers raised the walls, the bull simply became bigger.

This continued till one night, the farmer who had struck down the bull had a dream in which Lord Shiva directed him to retrieve a trident buried in the earth in front of the bull and affix it on to its forehead. The farmer was also instructed to tell the others that their first groundnut harvest should be offered to the shrine every year. They complied, and the bull stopped growing. The ritual continues to this day.

Legend also has it that Bangalore's founder, Kempe Gowda, after hearing of the incident, turned up in disguise at Basavanagudi and asked the farmers who they were propitiating. On being told it was Basavanna who had looked after them all these years and had ensured that their crops got good rains, Kempe Gowda also offered his obeisance to the deity. That night he had a dream about a treasure. He had to disinter it and build a temple in its place. He complied. This was in 1537. Another version has it that Kempe Gowda, while under the captivity of the Vijayanagar ruler, Sadashivaraya, was fascinated by Hampi's architecture. On being released, he came down south to found Bangalore, and had the temple built on similar lines. (Trivia: according to geologists, the river Arkavati once flowed where the Bull Temple stands now. It changed course following an earthquake. The huge boulders in the area substantiate this conclusion.)

Shops and vendors line both sides of the road from the temple to the Ramakrishna Ashram. Farmers from villages near and far (some come even from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) come with their fresh produce. Considering that gorging on raw groundnuts can give you the mother of all indigestions, there are the enterprising jaggery sellers (as well as puffed rice vendors) who set up shop. Special poojas are offered by the farmers to the temple deity, not just for their harvest, but also for their cattle. They also offer salt, pepper, and beans at the shrine.

Going nuts over a festival, The Hindu, Metro Plus Bangalore, Monday, Dec 02, 2002

Kalidasa (Kaalidhaasaa)
(Info added on 13 Feb 2013)

Mahakavi Kalidasa, India's greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist, has authored severalmaster pieces - The plays Maalavikaagnimitram, Abhijnaanashaakuntalam, Vikramoervasiyam, the epic poems Raghuvamsam, Kumarasambhavam, and the Khanda Kayvas Ritusamhaara, Meghadootha or Meghasandesa.

The play was the first Indian drama to be translated into a Western language, by Sir William Jones in 1789. In the next 100 years, there were at least 46 translations in twelve European languages.
English translations include:
Sacontalį or The Fatal Ring: an Indian drama (1789) by Sir William Jones
Śakoontalį or The Lost Ring: an Indian drama (1855) by Sir Monier Monier-Williams
Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works (1914) by Arthur W. Ryder
Bengali translations include:
Shakuntala (1854) by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar
Shakuntala (1895) by Abanindranath Tagore

Translations of Shakuntala, and Other Works by Arthur W. Ryder (1914)

Other info: