Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The story of a waste disposal tradition - maari hore

 When you travel in the car on the highways of the Western Ghats and Coasts of Karnataka you may suddenly notice these strange pile of disposals just beside the road... These are not ordinary garbage disposals. It has got a cultural history and interesting rituals and belief followed by locals.

Near Sagar western ghat highway 2019 June 

Near Sirsi highway  -July 2019 
This waste bundle is called 'Maari hore" (ಮಾರಿ ಹೊರೆ )in Kannada. 'Maari' is the folk  Goddess/Deity of misfortunes and epidemics diseases., who is worshiped to seek her blessings for prevention of diseases like smallpox, cholera, plague and also natural calamities. The word ‘Maari’ refers to contagious diseases in Kannada. It appears that originally the concept of Maari worship was conceived to drive out epidemic diseases.

The symbolic extradition of Maari, the epidemics, still prevalent along the Western Ghats and coasts of Karnataka. 

The villagers of the next village used to carry the disposals on their head after conducting Poojas (ಉಡಿ ) extradite the idol and the bundles to the outskirts of their village. And this chain continues along with the villages until the bundle reaches the sea or a river 

 No festivals are celebrated by the village in which Gadimaari is placed. While lifting the garbage (maari), salt packets offered to get rid of minor diseases and piled up by devotees around the year are also cleared. 

She is also known adugoolajji (ಅಡುಗೂಲಜ್ಜಿ )or gadi maari (ಗಡಿಮಾರಿ)

Gadi maari :

Near Sagar highway july2019

Gadi Maari is always kept at the boundary of the village (Gadi means boundary and maari is the goddess of the epidemic ) As time passes the village grows beyond the border but the tradition retains the jurisdiction.

The image above shows rural custom of leaving the idol of Gadi Maari at the outer boundary of the village after due worship. 

The photos were captured in a different year mostly on the highways of Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur, Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, Sagar, Shivamogga.

 What is this Maari hore ( waste disposal bundle )contains? 

The entire dump is called maari hore. Interestingly earlier these garbage bundles (maari hore) contained all eco-friendly discarded broken household items. Mostly it contained broken woven cane baskets, broken woven cane cradles, rice winnowing flat basket) brooms, broken earthen pots, waste cloths and loads of salt packets .. Deities also offered coins, green bangles, coconut as UDI


Recent maarihore contains mostly plastic waste ..Recently vehicles are hired to lift the Maarihore when it reaches to the towns and they describe the reason that Maarihore becomes a huge pile when it is almost reaching its destination.

Photo :Nandan Aigal

Photo: Nanadan Aigal

 The maari hore is also evolving ..earlier it was just a bundle of eco-friendly disposals. Now we can see the wooden statue of the female goddess and a male god along with disposal   ..there is a big wooden toy cart also be offered as an imaginary goods carrier ..  

Near Sagar high way June 2019
Sirsi highway july 2019
The concept of maari hore is a great example of effective waste disposal management. The waste travels from village to village until it reaches the sea or a river. unfortunately now maaarihore is no more eco-friendly garbage bundle ..it contains all kind of plastics .. but the rituals and faith continue 

Aug 2016 ankola,achave 

Photos: BuDa Folklore 

Thanks to Nandan Aigal
 Ankola culture history and ecology. 


  1. It is quite interesting. I would like to know that what is the present situation of these great eco friendly community doing waste disposing? Was the superstition made into worshiping waste or from the beginning was there an understanding of waste management and recycling? I would like to keep in touch and to be a part of your research if possible. Dr. Lata Pratibha Madhukar, (Bijapur and Pune)

  2. Good information..I want few pictures of your article.Please provide permission to take these.


Traditional Baskets and other weaving crafts with natural fibers in Uttara Kannada-western Ghat region

  While  weaving craft with natural fibers  is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say j...