Why This Tadipathri Village Goes Empty Once A Year

17 Feb, 2022 16:54 IST|Sakshi Post
Talaricheruvu Village,Haji Vali Dargah

ANANTAPUR:  India has many interesting customs and traditions, some of which are unique to a particular region, place, or village. One such unique custom is practiced in the Talaricheruvu village at Tadipathri Mandal in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Every year on the full moon day of Magha maasam or the Magha Purnima  (February) as it is known as per the traditional Hindu calendar, the villagers- both men and women of Talaricheruvu come out of their homes and keep everything locked. The entire village is emptied before sunset. All the villagers including the children, cattle, livestock gather at the Haji Vali Dargah near the village. 

The villagers have been following this centuries-old tradition called the 'Aggi Padu' ritual. All lights are switched off and no one cooks in their home. All work is stalled and everything is left as it is. The villagers lock their homes, pack their portable stoves, while some take firewood, cooking utensils, and food items and load the items on tractors, autos, two-wheelers, and bullock carts, and travel to the Haji Vali Dargah.

They spend the day at the Dargah, cooking food, playing games, and singing songs. Once it is dark they return to their homes after finishing their meals outside. At 12 o clock, they enter their houses by breaking coconuts at the threshold of the door. If there are any pregnant women, they break the coconut and enter their homes. The villagers state that they have been following this tradition for almost 400 years. They believe that by doing so, they will be rid of drought and ward of other troubles.

- As per the locals' version, there is a story behind this custom. Once a poor brahmin was caught by the villagers for stealing. They thrashed him and the man died of injuries. After his death, the village was overcast with a bad omen and tidings that befell on the residents. Newborn male babies died within a few hours of birth, there was a severe drought in the village and people suffered from untold miseries.

The villagers then met the temple priests who told them that it was due to the curse of the Brahmin who died in the village. They told the villagers that on the full moon day of the Magha month they should evacuate the village, stop all work and go and stay at the Haji Vali Dargah. They should return after it gets dark, and only after midnight, they should enter their homes after breaking coconuts at the doorsteps. The belief is that when the spirit of the Brahmin who died on that day comes into the village would go back thinking it was empty after seeing that no one was there.

- Another folk legend says that a century ago two factions fought a battle that ended with the death of hundreds of people including children, women, and local priests. The bad omen that befell the village, made them believe that it was due to the curse of the priests. The village heads then consulted a saint and, on his advice, decided to observe rituals at the battlefield on the day of full moon night in Magha Masam when the killings are said to have taken place. The villagers took the advice of the head priest, who advised them to leave the village on every Magha Pournami to ward off evil spirits. They assemble at the Dargah which was said to be the place where the battle was fought and stay there the whole day.

Since then the Talaricheruvu villagers have been following this custom. Though a segment of some people terms it as a superstition being followed even in the 21st century, the interesting part of this custom is that the villagers irrespective of caste, creed or religion gather at the Dargah and stay together as a symbol of communal harmony. All the villagers who came to the Dargah pray there first and later go out to pray for their own local deities. Even the Brahmins pray at the dargah on that day.

On Wednesday this year too, the villagers continued this tradition and returned home only after midnight and this time switched on the electric lights and life returned to normalcy.

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