A glimpse of Dussehra festivities in Kolhapur takes you back in time
Thousands of people gather to witness the traditional festivities at Dasara Chowk in Kolhapur every year. The celebrations in Kolhapur have a long tradition that dates back to the late 17th century and the festivities are akin to the ones in Mysore and Gwalior. Since the time of Maharani Tarabai the celebrations in Kolhapur have been big and popular.
This year too, on Saturday (September 30), people started gathering at the chowk at around 5 pm. Many had brought their young ones along with them. At around 5.30 pm, the palanquin bearing the idols of deities Mahalaxmi arrived at the chowk.
The palanquin was decorated with flowers. Next to arrive were the palanquins of Tuljabhavani and Guru Maharaj. The palanquin of Tuljabhavani consists of the idols of the holy goddess and also the idol of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The procession also included young boys and girls playing the dhol with great energy and enthusiasm.
The celebrations reached a peak when the royal family comprising Chhatrapati Shahu II Bhonsle, Yuvraj Shrimant Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati Maharaj Sahib, Maharajkumar Shrimant Malojiraje Bhonsle, Shrimant Shahajiraje Sambhajiraje Bhonsle, Shrimant Yashraj Malojiraje Bhonsle and Shrimant Yashasviniraje Bhonsle arrived at Dasara Chowk in their vintage 1932 Maybach car. The royal family was welcomed by the police band which performed the anthem of the princely state.
After this warm welcome, Chhatrapati Shahu II, along with the other members of the royal family, worshipped the apta tree. As the celebrations were on, there was a short drizzle but there was no dip in enthusiasm.
The royal family was given three rounds of gun salute. The gun salute is an indication that the common people can collect the leaves of the tree. The small pandal in which the apta leaves are tied together and kept is known as ‘Lakadkota’.
People from all walks of life gathered around the royal family to exchange the leaves and greetings. The royal family generously accepted the greetings.
Sharing their views on the celebrations, many from the crowd considered this to be the only chance throughout the year to meet the king.
Many had also come to witness the playing of the dhol and also a small sword fighting scene performed by the young boys and girls.
Several other dignitaries like Cabinet Minister for Public Works, Revenue and Relief & Rehabilitation — Government of Maharashtra and Guardian Minister — Kolhapur and Jalgaon Chandrakant Patil; Kolhapur Mayor Haseena Varas; Bihar Governor D Y Patil; and Special IGP Vishwas Nangre Patil also attended the event.
The celebrations ended on a high note with the royal family visiting the famous Mahalaxmi temple and returning to the palace.