Madikeri (Karnataka), May 28 : Thousands of hill tribes recently converged at the famous Ayyappa Temple to mark Kunde Habba, a festival of abusing God, in Karnataka's Devarapura area near Thithiamthi Village of Madikeri District's Virajpet Taluk.
Also known as "Bodu Habba" in Kodagu, the unique festival of abusing God was celebrated in a grand way by a large number of tribal people.
Tribals from different parts of the district, participated in the festival. Dressed as demons, the tribals enthralled the spectators.
Choma, one tribal who participated in the festival, said: "Kunde Habba is the festival of tribals in Kodagu that is celebrated on the last week of May every year."
Legend has it that once Lord Ayyappa took tribals for hunting in forest. But after Ayyappa met Goddess Badrakali in the forest, he abandoned the tribals and left the place with her.
The tribals felt ditched by Ayyappa and later started observing day as a festival to commemorate the incident by abusing the God.
On this day, the tribals would dance to the tunes of folk songs throughout the day. However, in evening, the tribals assemble in the temple and seek apology from the deity for their behaviour. A cacophony of words and sounds of beating objecting rent the air as people watch participants making merry.
Over 2,500 tribes belonging to the Jenukurubas, Betta Kurubas, Yeravas, Paniyas and Kembeti and other tribes converged to abuse and added joy to the occasion.
Several tribal men dressed as women danced and asked for money from people passing through the Gonicoppa-Thithimathi road. For the tribals their culture and old traditions and rituals are still significant.
Several tribal people participated from neighbouring Periyapatna and Hunsur, apart from those who came from all over Kodagu.
Singing and dancing, the tribals reached the Aiyappa temple at Devarapura in the afternoon where the "Bhandara Takka" or the keepers of the temple wealth, the Sannuvanda family members, were present.
All of them went around the temple as a sign of obeisance to Lord Aiyappa. They retained some part of the total collections and donated the rest to the temple. By K.G.Vasuki