Thigalas (Karnataka Vanniyars)
The Vanniyakula Kshatriyas in Karnataka are called as Thigala Vanhikula Kshatriyas. Thigalar means a tamil word "Thi-kulathaar"(born from fire). The famous bangalore karaga festival is carried out by Thigalas(Karnataka Vanniyars). Thigalas are native people of Karnataka where as part of them are migrated from Tamilnadu. There are about 50 lakhs Thigalas in Karnataka. The mother tongue of Thigalas is tamil whereas they speak kannada also.
Bangalore Karaga is a famous and one of the oldest festival celebrated in Bangalore. Bangalore Karaga is basically a traditional celebration of Thigala community of South India.Ka Ra Ga in kannada means Ka (karagallinda muttade – without touching with hands) Ra (Rundada mele darisi – bearing on Head) Ga ( Gatisu – walk ).
Karaga procession commences on the night of Saptami, the seventh day of shukla paksha of Chaitra masa- the first month in the Hindu calendar.
A unique feature of the Karaga festival is that a man, dressed as a woman, carries the karaga on his head. The karaga is expertly balanced on the carrier's head. The carrier, in his temporary avatar as Draupadi, goes to the houses of the veerakumaras where their families perform pooja to the karaga. The carrier is practically in a trance even as he dances along with the veerakumaras (who are carrying their swords). By the time the procession returns to the temple it is dawn.