Chelairu Khandige Dharmarasu Shri Ullaya Daivasthana is a renowned place of worship with a rich history of more than 1200 years. The Daiva (deity) worshipped here is known as Ullaya Daiva.
There’s a popular saying in this region – “Yermal Jappu, Kandevu Adepu”, it means that the Yermal festival is the first and Kandevu festival is the last. Kandevu Daivasthana is the only place having the Muga (face/mask representing the Daiva) for Ullaya Daiva. As per the festive traditions, before entering Khandige, Ullaya Daiva comes to Sasihithlu and meets Rajan Daiva Saranthaya.
It is believed that when people of Mithra Patna (who belong to Mogaveera community) were on their daily routine of fishing, they came across Ullaya Daiva dressed like a brahmin along with Aiyer Sathyolu (Five Spirits). When Ullaya Daiva asked the fishermen about Sampulla Jaage (meaning a good place to stay), they pointed towards Kandevu Boodu (Khandige Beedu). Because of this significant incident, the Mogaveera Community of Mithra Patna had a prominent role during the annual festival of Khandige, starting from setting up the ceremonial wooden pole for hoisting the Garuda till the end of Nemotsava (now there is a permanent Dhwaja Sthamba so this act is not performed). To commemorate this auspicious incident, there’s an annual festive tradition of fishing followed by the Mogaveera community before Ullaya Nemotsava begins. However, the fish caught is not offered to Ullaya Daiva (no non-vegetarian dishes are offered to god). The bounty of fish caught is taken home by the villagers since they expect guests, relatives and friends to visit them during the festival celebrations. It’s believed that the fish caught during this ritual fishing ceremony is tastier than the fish caught on regular days. Since Ullaya is a Shaiva Shakthi (Lord Shiva’s form), no Madhu-Mamsa (intoxicating drinks or non-vegetarian food) are offered to Ullaya and Parivara daivas.
Khandige Jaathre (known as Kandevdayana in Tulu) begins on Sankranthi (transitioning from Paggu to Besa month of Tulu). The priests and villagers gather together and offer prayer to Ullaya and begin the ritual fishing. On the same night, ‘Thambila’ seva is offered to Brahma under a peepal tree where Seven Siris (women who are involved in the spiritual activity) are made to sit on a coconut leaf mat. Kumara and Seven Siris are worshipped and with their words, paraphernalia of Ullaya and Aiyer Sathyolu (5 spirits – Kantheri Jumadi, Sarala Jumadi, Kodamanithaya, Jarandaya & Banta) are taken to Kandevu Boodu. After hoisting the flag – Garuda, Ullaya Daiva’s Kanchi-Minchida Nema begins at around 5 a.m. Unlike other Daivas of Tulunadu, Ullaya Daiva Nema gets over within a short duration after holding the Pancha Jeetige. After that Ishtha Devathe, Babbarya and Nandi Gona Nemotsava start. Maisandaya after receiving horse grains offering (Kudu) in front of Brahmasthana, meets Kumara and the Seven Siri’s under the peepal tree.
Next day the ritual start’s in the morning. Ullaya and Aiyer Sathyolu (5 spirits – Kantheri Jumadi, Sarala Jumadi, Kodamanithaya, Jarandaya & Banta) come in Joga. In the evening, under the same peepal tree, Nemotsava takes place for both Kodamanithaya and Jarandaya Daiva.
It’s believed that the Muga of Ullaya came along with Ullaya Daiva when he arrived in Khandige. The metal which makes up the Muga has not been identified yet because its colour keeps on changing mysteriously. Sometimes it appears to be an iron piece and then sometimes it shines like Gold. Since it’s believed to have arrived at Khandige along with the Daiva, the Muga has not been altered and has been kept as it was.
Bappanadu Jaathre, Arasu Kambla and Khandige fishing are the most popular crowd gathering events of the coastal area since ancient times.
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