Bengaluru is famous as silicon city. Though pubs and parties are a highlight of the night and bright life of the city, the true spirit of Bengaluru can be seen in its traditional fairs and festivals. From Karaga to Avarekai mela, here are five fairs and festivals that will represent the real Bengaluru.

1) Karaga

Bengaluru Karaga is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the heart of Bengaluru, a tradition of 'Vahnikula Kshatriyas (Thigala)' community in southern Karnataka. It is led by the men of the Thigala community. They believe that in the last part of the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were shown a glimpse of hell, one last Asura (Demon) called Tripurasura was still alive. Pandavas' wife Draupadi took the form of Shakthi Devi, created an army of soldiers called Veerakumaras and defeated Tripurasura. When the soldiers asked Devi to stay back with them, she promised to come to stay with them every year during the first full moon of the first month of the Hindu calendar. Thigalas believe that they belong to the Veerakumara community and organise the festival of Karaga, welcoming Shakthi Devi.

2) Kadalekai Parishe (Groundnut fair)

Before Bengaluru grew to be a city, Basavanagudi was surrounded by villages like Sunkenahalli, Guttahalli, Mavalli, Dasarahalli and other places where groundnut was majorly cultivated. However, on every full moon day a bull would barge into the groundnut fields and damage the crop. The farmers not knowing any other way, prayed to the Basava god known as Nandi at Basavanagudi temple.

The tale states that farmers found an Idol of Basava that grew rapidly. The farmers are said to have nailed an iron peg on the head of the idol, which is visible in the form of a trishula even to this date. Thus, in respect to the Basava (the Bull Lord) a fair is held, where in front of the temple, farmers install their stalls of groundnuts of all varieties. The fair is held for three days and it is believed that on the last day, the god comes in the form of a bull and eats the groundnut peels overnight.

3) Bengaluru Habba

Bengaluru Habba was organised first in 2017 by the Tourism Department to inspire a greener and environment-friendly city. Known as ‘Namma Bengaluru Habba,’ the festival was inaugurated at Sankey Tank. This green festival offers a sneak peek into the cultural heritage of the state. Art performances including Yakshagana, Dollu Kunitha and Hulivesha along with stilt walkers, street musicians, jugglers, magicians, face painters and caricature and tattoo artists bring the entire Bengaluru culture to one place. The festival is an annual affair and the entire city comes together to celebrate the spirit of Bengaluru.

4) Chitra Santhe

This is the annual art fair which literally means painting fair, Chitra Santhe is held every year in January. Today is the 16th Chitra Santhe where thousand artists display their creative works on Kumara Krupa Road. Chitra Santhe is organised by the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. The day-long Chitra Santhe drew over 400,000 people last year. This year the theme of Chitra Santhe is Gandhi 150. Pictures and interesting facts on Gandhiji's life can be seen depicted in various forms including paintings.

5) Avarekai mela

The annual Avarekai Mela (Hyacinth beans also known as flat beans fair) held at VV Puram in Bengaluru is like heaven for foodies. The event organised by Geetha Shivakumar of Sri Vasavi Condiments, sees over 200 farmers from Magadi, Kolar and other nearby places put up stalls and present a variety of food items for thousands of people visiting the stalls. Every item is prepared from farm-sourced flat beans. This annual fair started 18 years ago. In numerous varieties, one can enjoy the preparation of these beans in the form of sweet, as an item of savoury, in curries, as masala vadas, in dosas, as a sambhar, in idlis, upma, and even honey jalebis, jamoons and holiges (sweet chapatti). Every single item in this fair is made with flat beans and is considered one of the festivals of Bengaluru never to be missed.