Medaram Jatara Festival - Hindu Tribal Festival Telangana.

Sammakka Saralamma Jatara also known as Sammakka Sarakka Jatara and Medaram Jatara, is a festival to honour the Hindu Tribal goddesses, celebrated in the state of Telangana, India. This Jatara is known for witnessing one of the largest people gatherings in the world. The Jatara begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandala in Mulugu district. The rituals related to the Goddesses are entirely conducted by the Koya Tribe priests, in accordance with Koya customs and traditions. People offer jaggery (Bangaram) to the Goddesses.
It is believed that after Kumbha Mela, the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara attracts the largest number of devotees in the country. Jatara celebrated during the time the goddesses (Sammakka and Saralamma) of the tribals are believed to visit them. Until 1955, about 2,000 people used to visit Medaram, of which the majority 1,500 belonging to the Koya tribe. But now a large number of non-Koya people(1.3 crore) visits Medaram and the Koya people comprises only 2% of the total worshippers.
Sammakka Sarakka Jatara is a tribal Hindu festival. It is held once in two years for four days starts by arrival of the goddesses to Gaddelu in Medaram and ends by their vanapravesham, entry into the forest. It is the time for the largest tribal congregation in the world, with approximately ten million people converging on the place, over a period of four days. Many devotees from different states of India Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Jharkhand reach to the festive place to celebrate the Jatara.
Day-1 (Magha Shuddha Poornima): Sarakka's idol is carried from Kannepalli to Medaram. Pagididda Raju's idol is carried from Poonugondla to Medaram.
Day-2: Sammakka's idol and the Kumkum casket is carried to Medaram usually by midnight after long secret pujas by the Koya tribes on Chilakalagutta, the hill where the Kumkum casket is kept. Govinda Raju's idol is carried from Kondai to Medaram.
Day-3: Peak day of the Jatara believed to be the day, Adi Parashakti is worshipped. Sammakka and Sarakka along with their consorts Pagididda Raju and Govinda Raju respectively, are worshipped. Devotees take bath in Jampanna Vaagum and offer their same weight bellam (jaggery) to the Sammakka and Sarakka Goddesses.
Day-4: The Jatara ends with the "Tallula Vanapravesham" entry into the forest. The Kumkum casket is carried back to Chilakalagutta and kept there until the next Jatara.
Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan. Until 1978, the only way to reach Medaram was by a bullock cart. In 1978 then the Andhra Pradesh State Government declared the 1000-yr old festival as official and laid down a paved road. TSRTC runs multiple buses to the venue during the Jatara period. Also, many private vehicles render their services for plying the visitors and aerial view services such as using a helicopter are also provided during this festival. The Jatara is very well facilitated with roads, drinking water, sanitation, health and hygiene by the Government of Telangana.
The mini-version of mega tribal festival Samakka-Sarakka Medaram jatara (Manda Melige) would be held from February 21 to 24, 2024 in Medaram village of Mulugu district Telangana. The sources said that the rituals including temple cleaning, worship and village confinement would be done on February 21. On February 22, the deities Samakka-Saralamma will be worshipped with turmeric and vermillion as part of ‘Manda Melige” ritual. Deities Sammakka and Saralamma are worshipped according to aboriginal tribal traditions. As part of ‘Manda Melige’, villagers would come together to cleanse the temples. They would be allowed to have darshan on February 23 and 24, the sources said. The tribal priests have urged the district authorities to make all necessary arrangements following the arrival of scores of devotees to the tribal fair.

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