Pola is a bull-worshipping festival celebrated by farmers mainly in Maharashtra. On the day of Pola, the farmers decorate and worship their bulls with the aim of giving them rest for a day in the entire year. Bulls are a symbol of hard work and are also known as farmer’s best friends. Farmers strive year round in the company of bulls for agriculture production and feed millions of people. On the day of Pola, the bulls are first given a bath, and then decorated with ornaments and shawls. Their horns are painted, and their necks are adorned with garlands of flowers. Then, they are worshipped by their owners.
However, when it comes to the kids, they are nowhere in this picture, neither do they have any specific or important role to play.
Therefore, the then King Raje Raghujirao Bhonsle-II started the Tanha Pola in 1806 AD for the children. According to Raje Raghujirao Bhonsle-II, since India has been agriculture-oriented country, he felt that the children too should know the importance of the animals around us and to love and respect them. This Festival highlights the role of bull in agriculture and for the farmers.
In an exclusive interview with Nagpur Today at the Bhonsle Palace (Wada), Raje Mudhoji Bhonsle (the present descendent of King Bhonsle) said that this year, the celebration of Tanha Pola at the Palace is 208 years old.
He said that every year, the celebration of Tanha Pola starts from the palace. The King himself took a wooden replica of the bull around the palace. After the exit from the Palace gates, the procession goes to Lord Hanuman’s Temple in Mahal. From there, earlier the procession used to take a round of the entire city which was limited to a small area. However, now they take a short round of the Mahal area and return back to the palace.
To begin with, the wooden replica of the Bull is placed facing the palace inside the main gate. On both the sides of the King’s Bull, other replicas brought by the children of the area are lined up.
An elaborate worship (puja) is performed on all the bulls (small or big) lined up there. After that the Prince (son of Raje Mudhoji Bhonsle) Jaisingh Raje Bhonsle, also performs the puja and then he and his wife distribute chocolate bars and Rs 10 to every kid who had come with his wooden replica of bull to the palace.
After that Raje Mudhoji Bhonsle attached a small tractor and pulled the wooden replica of the bull and went to Lord Hanuman’s temple for offering their prayers for the bull. The King’s servants had lined up the Horses for the occasion.
In all, it reminded those present in the palace grounds, what a grand occasion it must have been in the olden days, when the festival was observed with grandeur and elegance.