WARANGAL: Medaram Sammakka Saralamma Jatara is conducted entirely according to tribal and adivasi traditions and showcases their colourful culture. However, over the years it has caught on with non-tribals, who worship the presiding deities Sammakka and Saralamma with equal reverence.
This is one of the reasons for the massive devotee-surge. There has been a steady increase and today it is acknowledged as one of the biggest religious congregations of the country.
The festival is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifices made by the tribal rulers Sammakka and Saralamma, who fought the mighty Kakatiya rulers opposing an unjust law in the 13th century.
Legend has it that while the tribal king Pagididda Raju and his son Jampanna were killed during the war, the daughter and mother marshalled resources, fought bravely and caused colossal damage to the Kakatiya rulers. However, they could not withstand the combat-trained Kakatiya knights. While Saralamma was killed in action, Sammaka, who was seriously wounded, disappeared into the thick jungle on Chilakala gutta cursing the Kakatiya dynasty. Almost immediately thereafter, the dominance of the Kakatiya dynasty started declining and ended. Since then, the Koyas, Waddaras and other Indian tribes and castes have been organising the festival dedicated to Sammakka and Sarakka.
Even as tribal started flocking from all over, a noticeable aspect was that non-tribal devotees began patronising the festival. According to data, they outnumber tribal devotees during the Jatara.
Traditionally, tribals used to visit Medaram on bullock carts or even by foot with family members and carrying cooking material. They spent some time at the temple after giving their offerings to the deities. People take a holy bath in Jampanna Vagu and offer ‘bangaram’ (jaggery) of a quantity equal to their weight to the goddesses. There is no vedic or Brahmanic influence on this festival. Because of the huge crowd during the jatara and the security concerns, some of the rituals that were originally followed are being forgotten....