By Ravi R. Ponangi
Atlanta, GA: Families of Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh living in and around Atlanta celebrated the Bathukamma Panduga (festival) October 23 with great enthusiasm. Telangana Community, Inc. organized Bathukamma festival in Hindu temple of Atlanta, Riverdale. The women started arriving with their beautiful “bathukammas,” which were basically an arrangement of flowers and other items, at the venue from 11.30 a.m. and finally saw a substantial gathering of more than 500 people. About 60 Bathukammas were brought to the venue overcoming the challenge of keeping the flower arrangement intact while commuting long distances especially on the interstate. The Bathukamma Panduga was kicked off with Jyoti Prajwalana follow- ed by cultural programs.
The Bathukamma Panduga is one of the most unique festivals of Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh and is celebrated mainly by women.. This festival falls in the months of September/October during Dasara. It is a festival honoring the “life-giver” Goddess Gowri known as Bathukamma, with women seeking her blessings for prosperity and a good year. Colors, flowers and water are all intrinsic to the festival; and the Goddess Herself is not one rooted in a shrine but made of flowers that signify both life and eternity in their colors as well as impermanence. For, the Goddess is “created” each year, and immersed duly at the conclusion in local water ponds.
Bathukamma festival started at 3.30 p.m. with Gowri puja by Phani Kumar and Narasimha Murty, priests of the temple, by invoking Goddess Gowri or Bathukammas for Her blessings and all-round prosperity of the people. Women decked in their beautiful silk saris and adorned with jewels, brought charm to the event.
Melodious and rhythmic “Bathukamma” songs were sung with enthusiasm by women, in groups, intermittently dancing around the “Bathukamma.”.
Well decorated Bathuk-ammas were selected and the winners were Madhuri Madarapu, Madhavi Vupalla, Premalatha and Sandhya Chiluveru. Appreciation trophies were given to them.
Bathukammas were immersed in a pool at the children’s play area.