Today is the holiday of Sanskranti, the harvest festival, which is one of the most important festivals in South India. In Tamil Nadu, this festival is called Pongal and lasts for four days. Here in Karnataka, only today is a holiday, though the festival will also stretch on for a few more days.
This is a special time to celebrate the new harvest and honour animals which work the fields, like cattle. Cows and bullocks are decorated with flower garlands and their horns are painted in bright colours. Houses are given a good cleaning and old, useless things are discarded in order to bring in the new. Families get together and sweets are shared.
The festival was announced with the usual street processions, drumming and loud music. Long striped stalks of sugar cane are sold on street corners. This morning my neighbours' doorsteps are decorated with kolams which are much more elaborate and colourful than usual. Here you can see some of them: