Bonalu fervour, time for festive celebrations
Spiritual ambience pervades the entire Telangana region during the Bonalu celebrations and most of them here engaging themselves in some kind of a devotional programme or other. Over the years the festival has been celebrated by one and all settled in the twin cities and it has been a part and parcel of our lives. Especially on Sundays, the city adores a festive look and most of the public are participating in the festive celebrations. Thousands of devotees thronged to various Mahankali temples on the occasion of Bonalu.The festival was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety, amidst tight security in the Old City. Serpentine queues were the norm at all Mahankali temples.
Bonalu began with women dressed in their best traditional attire offering bonam (a pot of rice mixed with turmeric powder, jaggery and curd and covered with neem leaves and a lamp on it) to goddess Mahakali at various temples. Joyous scenes were witnessed in every street as devotees danced amidst drummers, who filled the air with pulsating drum beats and Telugu folk songs were the order of the day. The month-long Bonalu festival started last Sunday(Jun 24) at the Golconda Fort. The festival is considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfillment of vows. Bonalu is meaning Bhojanalu (meals in Telugu) cooked by the women and offered to the Goddess.
Though the event has been turned into a political stunt by the politicians of the two warring factions, it is still adored by thousands in the twin cities. The Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy also participated in the celebrations and visited the Ujjaini Mahankali Temple. He was received with due honours by the temple authorities.
The opposition leader of the Telugu Desam Party N Chandrababu Naidu also participated in the celebrations. He also visited the Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderabad in the early hours, the authorities received the elite visitor with due respects. Later Mr Babu performed some pujas before leaving the temple.
The festival has a rich history dating back to the 18th century when once an epidemic plague brokeout in the region which savoured several lives. The people then tried to appease the Goddess Mahankali fearing that her wrath resulted in the plague. The Goddess was pleased by the prayers and the epidemic receded. To appease the Goddess women cooked food and served it the Goddess and offered prayers seeking her blessings. That has become customary since then and today we have the city gripped with celebrations. Women along with men are out on the streets on their way to the temple to appease the Gods. Long live Hyderabad and Happy Bonalu. (With inputs from internet- AW AarKay)
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