Sunday, August 19, 2018


Meda, Medara, Medarlu, or Medarakaran

The Medaras are workers of bamboo artisians in the Telugu, Kanrnataka, Tamil and Orissa states making baskets, sieves, cradles, mats, fans, boxes, umbrellas, and tatties (screens).

From various sources from ancient texts, reference books and communicated orally among the Medara as below,

  • It is believed that we came from Mahendrachala mountain, the mountain of Indra, and the following legend is current among them. Dakshudu, the fatherin-law of Siva, went to invite his son-in-law to a devotional sacrifice, which he was about to perform. Siva was in a state of meditation and did not visibly return the obeisance which Dakshudu made by raising his hands to his forehead. Dakshudu became angry and told his people not to receive Siva or his wife, or show them any mark of respect. Parvati, Siva's wife went with her son Ganapati against her husband's order to the sacrifice and received no sign of recognition. There-at she shed tears and the earth opened and she disappeared. She was again born of Himavant (Himalayas) and Siva, telling her who she was, remarried her. Siva in reply to her enquiries, told her that she could avoid a further separation from him if she performed a religious vow and gave cakes to Brahmans in a chata, or winnowing basket. She accordingly made a basket in gold, which was not efficacious, because as Siva explained to her it was not plaited as bamboo baskets are. Taking his serpent, Siva turned it into a bamboo. He ordered Ganapati and others to become men and gave them his trisula and ghada to work with on bamboo from which they plaited a basket for the completion of Parvati's vow. Ganapati and the Ganas remained on the Mahendrachala mountain and married Gandarva women, who bore children to them. Eventually they were ordered by Siva to return and as they could not take their wives and families with them, Siva told them to earn their livelihood by plaiting bamboo articles. Hence they were called Mahendrulu or Medarlu.

  • According to oral communication, Medara ancestors were created by Lord Shiva to cut the unexpected growth of bamboo trees touching the sky and obstructing his way to bless the ‘Saint’ (Muni) who is in deep penance. They were instructed by Lord Shiva to make use of that bamboo(meda) for earning livelihood. Since basket making has become their primary and traditional occupation.

  • According to another version, Parvati once wanted to perform the ceremony called Gaurinomu and wanting a winnow. She was at a loss to know how to secure one. She asked Siva to produce a man who could make one and Siva ordered his riding-ox Vrishaban to produce such a person by chewing. Vrishaban complied and the ancestor of the Medaras, being informed the wish of the goddess, Siva took the snake which formed his necklace, a bamboo at once sprang up on the spot, which after Medara used for making a winnow. The snake-like root of the bamboo is regarded as a proof of the truth of the story.


 Place of Origin: According to the above citation.

Mahendragiri, Odisha [Andra Pradesh] See it in => Google Maps / WikiMapia

           Mahendra giri is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage located in the borders of AP and Orissa which has a great mythological significance.  Mahendragiri is the abode of Lord Parashurama, one of the Lord Vishnus incarnations. Mahendra hills are visited during the Sivaratri , The ancient temple on the hills is believed to have constructed by Pandavas of Mahabharatha.

          Mandasa village is situated on the foothills of the Mahendragiri hills. The place is popular for the fort which is believed to have been the residential place of the erstwhile landlords of Mandasa.