Gaiety marks Bonalu celebrations in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, July 24 (IANS) Bonalu, the traditional folk festival of Telangana, was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Thousands of devotees thronged the temples in various parts of the city to offer prayers and participate in various rituals.
Men, women and children were seen queuing up at the temples in the old city and other parts of Hyderabad since early morning to offer ‘bonum’.
Large gatherings were seen at Sri Simhavahini Mahankali temple in Lal Darwaza, Sri Akkanna Madanna Mahakali temple in Haribowli and other Mahankali temples in areas like Mir Alam Mandi, Gowlipura, Charminar, Karwan and Amberpet.
The women devotees offered ‘Bonam’, containing cooked rice, jaggery, curd and neem leaves to goddess Mahankali.
Endowment Minister Indrakaran Reddy and animal husbandry minister T. Srinivas Yadav offered ‘Bangaru Bonam’ and silk robes to the deity on behalf of the state government.
The ministers said they offered prayers for the well-being and prosperity of the people of Telangana.
Indrakaran Reddy said the annual festival symbolised the unique culture of Telangana. He said ever since Telangana state was formed, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been making large scale arrangements for the festival.
State Home minister Mahmood Ali also participated in Bonalu celebrations. He said the festival reflects the unique ‘Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb’ of Telangana.
Badminton star P.V. Sindhu also participated in the festivities at Lal Darwaza temple.
She offered ‘bonum’ to the deity in a traditional manner. Sindhu told reporters that she is feeling happy to participate in the celebrations this year as last year she had missed the festival due to a tournament abroad.
YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) leader Y. S. Sharmila also participated in the celebrations and offered the ‘bonum’.
Police have made elaborate arrangements for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the festivities, which will continue till Sunday night.
The festival will conclude on Monday with the famous ‘Rangam’ where predictions about the state’s future will be made by an unmarried woman, followed by the Ghatam procession.
This will be followed by a procession of a caparisoned elephant carrying a portrait of the deity. Smeared with turmeric and vermilion, potharajus dance to rhythmic drum beats in the procession that will pass through various areas including Charminar.
Ashada Bonalu is a festival held in the month of Ashada, according to the Hindu calendar, celebrating goddess Mahankali.Devotees, especially women make offerings in the form of food to goddess Mahankali in specially decorated pots.
During the festival, people also hold ‘rangam’ or forecasting the future, organise processions and cultural events.
It is commonly believed that the festival was first celebrated over 150 years ago following a major cholera outbreak. People believed that the epidemic was due to the anger of Mahankali and began offering Bonalu to placate her.
After the formation of Telangana in 2014, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had declared Bonalu as the state festival. The festivities reflect Telangana culture with performances by the artistes. This year, the government has allocated Rs 15 crore for the celebrations.
The festival is celebrated every Sunday during Ashada month. Bonalu in Secunderabad, or Lashkar Bonalu as it is called, was celebrated on July 17.
The festival had started on June 29 at the Jagadambika Temple on historic Golconda Fort.

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