Bonalu Festival | Telangana History : One of the main festival in Telangana, celebrated annually. Bonalu is mostly observed in Twin cities Hyderabad and Secunderbad and other parts of Telangana. The word Bonnam is word of Bhojanam which means meals or feast in telugu language and it was celebrated in the month of Ashadamasaam. ie., July and August where special pooja’s are performed for Yellamma on the first and last day of the festival..
Image Credit : telanganatourism.gov.in
Bonalu is a festival to worship Mother Goddess in regional forms like Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Peddhamma, Dokkalamma, Ankalamma, Poleramma, Maremma, Nookalamma.
The original of the festival begins in 1813 in “Regimental Bazaar”, Hyderabad & Secunderabad
Plague disease broke out in the twin cities in 1813 causing deaths of thousands of people. In this period, a military battalion from Hyderabad was deployed to Ujjain. When this Hyderabad Military Battalion got to know about the epidemic in the cities, they prayed to the Mother Goddess in Mahankaal Temple – Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
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History tells us, that this military battalion prayed to Goddess Mahankaali, to kill the plague, and if the Goddess would do so, they had decided to install an idol of the Goddess Mahankaali in the city. It was belived by the Military people that Mahankali destroyed the disease and then came back to the city and constructed an idol of the goddess, which was followed by the offering of Bonalu.
It has become a tradition to offer Bonalu to Goddess every year and it is still following by the people of Telangana.
Other versions of the mythological story says that, this is the time Goddess Mahakali comes back to her parental home i.e, in Ashada Maasam of late June to August.
This period is the most optimal time to offer Bonalu to the goddess which is also compared to married girl returning back to birthplace and is pampered by parents.
On this occasion of Bonalu, women’s dress up in sarees and girls in leghans choli / Half saree with the combination of Jewelry and also prepare rice with milk and jaggery in a new Brass or Earthen Pot adorned with Neem leaves, turmeric, Vermilion and a lit lamp on the top of the Pot.
Women carry the pots on their heads dance with balancing pots (Bonam), to the rhythmic beats of drums in honour of the local Goddess and make an offering of Bonam along with Turmeric-Vermilion,Bangles and Saree to the Mother Goddess across the Temples.
Bonalu Festival celebrations Starts at
Golconda Fort – on the first Sunday of Ashadam
Balkampet yellama temple in Balkampet and Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secundrabad – on Second sunday
Pochamma and katta maisamma temple of chilkalguda and the Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaza in Old City of Hyderabad – on third Sunday
Akkanna Madanna temple in Haribowli, Muthyalamma temple in Shah Ali Banda are among other temples where Bonalu were celebrated.
Potharaju is the brother of Mother Goddess, is represented in the procession by a well-built, bare-bodied man, wearing a small tightly draped red dhoti and bells on his ankles, and anointed with turmeric on his body and vermilion on his forehead. He dances to resounding drums
Image Credit : hindustantimes.com
Tottela and Ghatam are also part of Bonalu Festival where thottela is a artifact of telangana people which is made of the bamboo sticks and colorful transparent looks like a temple Doom .
Ghatam is a copper pot decorated in the form of mother goddess which is was carried by priest dressed in Dhoti and body with smeared in turmeric.
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Bonalu Festival | Telangana History