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Home > Discover Hyderabad > City Lifestyle > Festivals
[Festivals]    
  BONALU - TRADITIONAL TELANGANA FESTIVAL  
Deities in the Ujjaini Mahakali Temple, SecunderabadThe twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are all set to welcome the biggest religious festival, 'Bonalu'. The electrifying Bonalu festival, which is celebrated with deep fervour and gaiety in the Telangana Region will take place in the period of Ashada Masam (a month in Hindu calendar, which falls in between June and July). The word 'Bonalu' is derived from ‘Bhojanalu’ meaning food offered to the Goddess Maha Kali.

Katta Maisamma Temple on Lower Tankbund road"The Goddess Maha Kali is worshipped by the Telangana people with different names such as Yallamma, Katta Mysamma, Pochamma and Gundamma, etc. Every village in the region has a temple for the Goddess. The main objective of the Bonalu festival is to get the blessings from Goddess Maha Kali for the entire family and community. Goddess Kali is regarded as a sole super power in the Hindu mythology and is propitiated to ward off all evils to bring peace and happiness," Mrs. Madireddy Andamma, Reader, Osmania University, explained the importance of the festival. Mrs Andamma did her doctoral research on 'Village Deities'and is considered to be an expert in the subject.

Ghatam processionThe Bonalu Jatara which starts on the first or second Monday of Ashada masam generally spans over eight to sixteen days. Bonalu festival is celebrated in different stages. In the first stage Ghatams, ornately decked up idols of the Goddess are taken to each and every house in the surrounding area to enable the devotees to view the deities and have their blessings. The main Bonalu day comes on either eighth or sixteenth day which is generally a Sunday.

Rangam The festive fervour starts from early hours in every home. "On Bonalu day women take head bath early in the morning and wear festive clothes. They cook rice and prepare a Andhra sweet dish, Payasam and Thotakura ( a leafy vegetable) and put them in a vessel decorated with neem leaves and a Jyothi (an oil lamp in a shallow earthen dish) on top. Women carry these vessels on their heads and walk up to the temple, while the traditional band music (dappu) accompanied by dancing follows them. They place the vessels before Godesses as an offer to the almighty. Some women fill the vessels with water, mixed with turmeric powder and pour them around the temple along with neem leaves for a prosperous and peaceful life. This is called 'Saka'," said an old lady Ramulamma of Amberpet.

Gajadhirohana procession on the last dayBy the time Bonalu comes, almost all the Kali as well as other temples wear a festive look with colourful paintings and magnificent decorations. Lakhs of devotees from all corners of the twin cities throng the main temples of Secunderabad, Amberpet, Shalibanda. During the Bonalu celebrations, 'Potharaju'- a man with turmeric powder paste smeared to his body is the special attraction. He wears a garland and a large kumkum mark on his forehead. He carries a whip and lashes it against his body repeatedly. He dances ferociously to the tune of heavy drum beats. 'Rangam' the final stage of the festival that takes place on the next day of Bonalu has got much importance among all other stages. On the Rangam day, an unmarried women stands on a pot at sanctum sanctorium (Garbha Gudi), in front of the idol and looks into the Goddess' eyes with concentration. As she keeps on concentrating, without her knowledge, she slowly goes into trans and reveals the future of the community as if like the Godess. People believe that, Goddess Kali enters into the body of the women to make her devotees cautious about their future. Large number of people gather to witness this event which takes place in the morning. After the Rangam, the whole festival comes to an end with massive procession, where an idol of Goddess Mahakali atop a caparisoned elephant is taken around the streets accompanied by the Potharaju and lots of devotees.

"Although the festival is celebrated in the Ashada masam, the exact Bonalu day will differ from one area to another. In the twin cities, the celebrations commence from Sri Jagadambika Temple in Golconda followed by Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secuderabad, Kashi Viswanath Mandir in Shali Banda, Mahakali Temple in Amberpet and finally culminate at the Akkanna Madanna temple in Lal Darwaza," said Ms. K. Lakshmi, Assistant Commissioner and Executive officer of Ujjaini Maha Kali Temple, Secunderabad

BONALU JATARA PROGRAMME 2001
Area
Ghatams
Bonalu

Rangam

Secunderabad
24-6-2001 to 7-7-2001
8-7-2001
9-7-2001
Old City
8-7-2001 to 14-7-2001
15-7-2001
16-7-2001
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