This year, haridasu arrives on a motorbike

‘COVID-19 forces us to switch to two-wheeler to prevent the spread of virus’

This year haridasulu descend on villages in a different way surprising the people. At several places in the district they were seen moving on motorbikes in the district. They generally move in villages and towns by walk only during Sankranthi festivities and farmers offer them sweets, clothes, rice and money.

Visiting of haridasulu during the Sankranthi, also known as Harvest Festival or Pedda Panduga, was an age old tradition. Farmers, who were happy after harvesting the crops, offer rice, sugar cane, turmeric, jaggery and other produce to the haridasulu and take their blessings, says a farmer, Cherukuwada Ranganayakulu of Palakol in the district.

“From our childhood we used to see haridasulu by carrying an ‘Akshaya Patra’ on his head and hold ‘chidatalu’ in one hand and tambura on the other hand. They come to colonies by wearing traditional ‘dothis’. But, this year they were seen moving on motorbikes,” says a woman, Talla Venkata Lakshmi of Tadepalligudem.

“The sheen of the Harvest Festival is seen with the arrival of haridasu in villages, who render songs of Bhagavatam and Ramayanam. They move for about one month,” says P. Janaki of Narsapuram. Women and children wear new clothes, offer rice, sweets and ethnic foods they prepare during Sankranthi and take the blessings of haridasu..

“We came from a village near Bhadrachalam in Kothagudem-Bhadradri district in Telangana State. We have been visiting many towns and villages in West Godavari district for the last 20 years. Every year, we move on foot. But COVID-19 forced us to use motorbikes to prevent the spread of the disease,” says a haridasu.

Face mask

A haridasu was seen playing recorded spiritual songs in the public address system fixed to his bike, while moving slowly on it by wearing a mask. Women offered rice, along with flowers and coconuts, touched the ‘Akshaya Patra’ and took his blessings.

The haridasulu, who visited the villages after a year, were seen enquiring the women and others about the well-being of their family members with much affection.

“Like earlier, we can walk and move in colonies. But, coronavirus has changed our attire. We cannot render songs by wearing a mask, which is compulsory, and cannot move house to house like previous years due to COVID-19 protocol. So we decided to switch to two-wheelers,” says a haridasu.

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