The festivals of Karnataka beautifully unfold the rich cultural attributes of the state. The multi-religious population of the state celebrates its many festivals harmoniously. People of different faiths seem to immerse themselves completely in following the religious traditions with utmost veneration. One of the main Hindu festivals of Karnataka is Mysore Dasara. The colourful Mysore Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore with dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, camels and horses participating in the festivities. Makar Sankranti is a day of goodwill and friendship and on this day sesame ladoos and sugar drops are distributed among the masses as a symbol of the need to be generous and kind. Ganesh Chaturthi is another important annual 10-day festival.
Ugadi is the Karnataka New Year celebrated boisterously in the month of April. The festival of Karaga is celebrated with much fun and frolic in the Darmaraya temple in Bangalore. It is observed on the full moon day of the month of Chaitra, which is the fi rst month according to the Hindu calendar. This popular festival is observed in honour of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, the famous characters of the great epic Mahabharata.
And then there is the larger than life religious Jain festival of the Maha Mastakabhisheka, which happens once in every 12 years in Shravanbelagola. During this long-awaited festival that marks the end of the ceremonies, the 18-metre statue of Bahubali is bathed in curd, vermillion, sandalwood and milk and extravagant offerings are made to the deity by the worshippers.
Besides the religious festivals there are some festivals, which showcase the cultural wealth of the state. This is demonstrated in vibrant colours and forms. Also, there are festivals that are linked to the lifestyle of the people and are celebrated with equal pomp and fervour. The magnifi cent city of Hampi comes alive with a symphony of colours during the festival of Hampi. The people of Hampi, once the capital of Vijayanagara, indulge themselves in the festive spirit with an assortment of cultural performances.
Other major festivals celebrated in Karnataka include Tula Sankramana in Coorg, Vairamudi Festival in Melkote, Banashankari Fair and Bengaluru Habba, among others.