'Bonalu' festivities to begin in Telangana, officials urge Covid-19 norms | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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'Bonalu' festivities to begin in Telangana, officials urge Covid-19 norms

By | Written by Joydeep Bose
Jul 11, 2021 07:17 AM IST

‘Bonalu’ is a traditional folk festival celebrated every year in the Telugu month of Ashadham (falling in June/July), in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, and some other parts of Telangana state.

Telangana is all set to celebrate the 'Asha Bonalu' festival, one of the biggest traditional folk festivals in the state, on Sunday. The event was cancelled by the state government last year in view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The Bonalu festival was declared a 'state festival' by the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led government after the state's formation back in 2014.

Bonalu celebrations in Hyderabad: A performer blows fire from his mouth as he performs during the annual Hindu religious festival. (Reuters / Krishnendu Halder)
Bonalu celebrations in Hyderabad: A performer blows fire from his mouth as he performs during the annual Hindu religious festival. (Reuters / Krishnendu Halder)

The Bonalu festival involves scores of devotees offering the traditional 'bonam' (derived from Bhojanam, meaning meals) to the goddess Mahankali at 25 temples across the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The first of these offerings -- the 'golden bonam' -- will be offered to the goddess Jagdamba at the temple in Hyderabad's Golconda Fort at 12 noon.

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The Bonalu festival, a month-long event, is expected to see a heavy rush from women devotees this year since many were restricted from properly making their offerings last year in view of the Covid-19 curbs. According to reports, the authorities are expecting thousands of devotees to crowd the temple premises on weekdays.

Bonalu this year is the first festival allowed after Telangana conducted a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive. To reduce the risk of virus spread, both the state police as well as temple authorities will be supervising the crowd and ensuring proper adherence to coronavirus-related protocols, officials familiar with the matter told news agencies.

The Bonalu festival is usually celebrated every year in the Telugu month of Ashadham (falling in June/July). The devotees worship Goddess Mahankali (a form of Durga) seeking her divine blessings to overcome all obstacles and get cured of diseases.

To celebrate 'Bonalu', devotees make ‘bonam’ (meal, comprising cooked rice, milk, and jaggery) in new earthen pots (ghatams), which womenfolk carry on their heads to the temple and offer to the deity. The pots are adorned with neem leaves, turmeric, and vermilion.

The Bonalu festivities begin on the first Friday of Ashadham month and continue till the end. The main festivities begin at Goddess Mahankali temple at Golconda fort in the first week, followed by Ujjaini Mahankali temple at Secunderabad, Akkanna Madanna temple at Shalibanda, and ends at the Mahankali temple at Laldarwaza in the old city of Hyderabad.

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