India | Andhra Pradesh

Ankamma Festival

Ankamma festival is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh for five days in the month of Ashadha. The deity is placed upon a palanquin and taken in a procession early in the morning. The floor is decorated with rangoli. A heap of cooked rice is offered and a ram is sacrificed on the evening of the following day. Ankamma on a tiger-shaped vehicle and her sister Mahalakshmamma on a jackal -shaped vehicle are taken to a four- wheeled cart, along with a basket. The villagers drop neem leaves and cooked rice into the basket. A lizard, a pig, a goat, a fowl and a human form made of flour are impaled on the spikes of the cart. The procession goes to the temple accompanied by music and dance.

On the fourth day devotees observe a fast and fulfill their vows. Balls of rice flour and jaggery are offered to the deities and vessels of cooked rice and bengal gram are taken around the temple and offered to the deity. A ram and a goat are sacrificed to Ankamma, and Mahalakshmamma respectively.

On the fifth day, Ankamma and Mahalakshmamma go hunting towards the north of the village on their respective vehicles. There a ram's ear is cut and the ram is driven to the temple. All things necessary for a feast to Ankamma and her relatives are provided in the temple and its doors are closed for three days. It is believed that if anyone opens the door within these three days, his head would break into pieces.

Updated on 15th November, 2005


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