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Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara

Published: 22nd Feb, 2024

Context

Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara, Asia’s biggest biennial tribal festival, is scheduled from February 21 to 24.

About

  • Type: Tribal Festival (State Festival of Telangana)
  • Conducted in: Medaram village by the committee of tribal priests.
  • Sammakka Saralamma Jathara or Medaram Jathara is a tribal festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the southern state of Telangana.

Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Mulugu

  • It commemorates the fight of a mother and daughter, Sammakka and Saralamma, with the reigning rulers against an unjust law.
  • It is celebrated by the second-largest Tribal Community of Telangana- the Koya tribe.

Koya Tribe

  • Koya is a tribal group found in southern India, especially Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.  
  • Koyas are commonly referred to as Koi, Koyalu, Koyollu, KoyaDoralu, Dorala Sattam, etc. 
  • Koyas call themselves "Koitur" in their dialect.  
  • Koyas speaks Koya language, also known as Koya Basha, and is a member of the Dravidian language family. 
  • The Koya are mainly settled cultivators and artisans, expertise in making bamboo furniture including mats for fencing, dustpans, and baskets.  
    • They grow Jowar, Ragi, Bajra and other millets.  
  • People offer bangaram/gold (jaggery) of a quantity equal to their weight to the goddesses and take holy bath in Jampanna Vagu (stream).
  • It is a festival with no vedic or brahmanic influence.
  • This fair is said to be the largest repeating congregation of tribal communities in the world. 
  • It is held every two years (biennually).

Jampanna vagu

  • Jampanna vagu is a tributary to River Godavari. According to the history, Jampanna is the tribal warrior and the son of Tribal Goddess Sammakka.
  • The Jampanna vagu took his name as he died in a battle fighting against Kakatiyan Army in that stream.
  • The Jampanna vagu is still red in colour marked with the blood of Jampanna (Scientifically the red colour of the water is attributed to the soil composition).
  • Tribal's believe that taking a holy dip in the red water of Jampanna Vagu reminds them the sacrifice of their gods who save them and also induces courage into their souls. 

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