kids in the name of traditions and beliefs even in this scientific age in Dakshina
Kannada district, considered the land of the intelligent. Even now, a tradition of dipping
little children in the freezing waters of a river, in the dead of the night, is being practiced
in the form of Harake in Vittal of Bantwal taluk in Dakshina Kannada district. The
Harake is offered amid cries of the kids.
Such a queer tradition is practiced in Kepu Ullalti Ammanavara Kshetra in Vittal. This
Kshetra is known as the abode of Ullalti Goddess who is said to fulfill the prayers of the
devotees. Abundant funds also flow into the Kshetra from the devotees.
But, during the annual festival of this temple, tiny tots are dipped in the water and are
made to offer Pradakshine at the temple in wet clothes itself.
As part of Harake, devotees dip their children in the river water even as the kids begin
to cry unable to bear the cold. Here too there is a speciality, the children of Brahmins
cannot offer this Harake.
This Harake seve is offered only on the day of the festival of the Temple. At midnight the
fast asleep kids are woken up and dipped in the water and then brought to the temple. A
person standing in the middle of the river, takes hold of the child and dips it in water.
The manner in which he does this gives one the impression as if he was either dipping a
hen or a sheep. As the kids begin crying uncontrollably, the parents heave a sigh of relief
that their harake has been offered.
But interestingly, Dalits and women are denied entry into this temple Though this is the
temple of Ullalti Goddess, women cannot offer Archane or any Seve to the Goddess or
even donations. The only thing they can do is to watch everything standing far off. But,
women should not be seen anywhere in the precincts once the Nema of the Devi begins.
There is an urgent need to put an end to such superstitious practices which torture kids in
the name of Harake. Steps need to be taken to ensure that Dalits and women are allowed
entry into this temple.