At this festival in Goa, there is always a canopy of bananas!

The Babreshwar Temple, in Calangute, receives thousands of bananas each year during the unique ‘Kelyanchi Zatrotsav’
At this festival in Goa, there is always a canopy of bananas!

The bananas, offered by the devotees, are hung from the temple roof during the zatra

PIC COURTESY: ians

Many zatras are held in Goa, and while they are all special occasions, there are some which are unique — the Kelyanchi Zatra being one of them.

The Babreshwar Zatra, also known as the Kelyanchi Zatrotsav, started on Monday at the Babreshwar Temple, Calangute. This unique 7-day festival is an annual traditional event, generally held around the end of February.

The speciality of this zatra is the plentiful bananas on the roof of the temple, forming a kind of canopy, or matoli. Devotees offer bunches of bananas (keleyache ghod) to Lord Babreshwar once their prayers have been answered. This bunch is then tied to the roof of the temple.

THE TEMPLE, FESTIVAL & BANANAS

Lord Babreshwar is considered to be a god of miracles, and many people from in and around Goa have deep faith in him, and hence, attend the celebrations in large numbers.

Devotees visit the temple and offer raw bananas to the god, who is believed to be very powerful. The bananas are later auctioned, and the money collected is utilised for the maintenance of the temple.

Hundreds of people visit the temple, with offerings of raw bananas, to the presiding deity at the temple during the zatra, which is been held for over 50 years. Every year, the temple gets approx 6,000 bunches of bananas (sometimes more!) in just a week’s time. There are all types of bananas – from locally produced varieties to those brought from other states.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Vendors sell bunches of bananas&nbsp;(<em>keleyache ghod</em>)&nbsp;outside the temple</p></div>

Vendors sell bunches of bananas (keleyache ghod) outside the temple

Gomantak Times

Auctioning of the bananas starts from day two itself, which ensures that nothing goes to waste. People buy these bananas for personal use or for the purpose of distribution or sale.

During the festive days, the temple is beautifully decorated and there are stalls with music, food, etc. A variety of cultural events, such as nataks, music and even programmes for kids, are also held

Fisherfolk from Calangute’s Christian community also give offerings to Lord Babreshwar as they pray for a good fishing season. Considering that the temple is located close to the beach, the zatra is often frequented by foreigners, too, who popularly call it ‘The Banana Festival’.

This year, the zatra will be held from February 21, 2022 to February 27, 2022.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The bananas, offered by the devotees, are hung from the temple roof during the <em>zatra</em></p></div>
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