Telangana’s ‘Bonalu’ to be low-key affair this year, women asked to celebrate at home

The decision was taken by the Cinematography Minister after a high-level review meeting.
Devotees not allowed inside temples this year due to the pandemic
Devotees not allowed inside temples this year due to the pandemic
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The Telangana government on Wednesday took the decision to keep its state-festival ‘Bonalu’ a low-key affair this year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government appealed to the people to celebrate the festival at their homes against the mass gatherings at the temple. This year, only priests will be allowed inside the temples to perform the rituals of the festival. 

This decision was taken by Cinematography Minister Talasani Srinivas following a high-level review meeting with Home Minister Mahmood Ali, MLAs Raja Singh, Kaleru Venkatesh, endowment officials, and officials from other departments.

“As there is a rise in COVID-19 cases, people are asked to celebrate Bonalu at their respective homes. The officials will take care of making the offering of pattu clothes to the temples, and as usual the priests will perform the poojas and rituals,” Talasani Srinivas said.

Bonalu is a month-long festival which coincides with the arrival of the monsoon. The annual festival is grandly celebrated in the twin cities -- Hyderabad and Secunderabad -- in the state. The festival is a two-day event, after Bonalu the jatara (carnival) would be followed.

This year as per the almanac, Bonalu is scheduled to begin on June 25 with celebrations at the Sri Jagadamba temple atop the historic Golconda Fort.

In Secunderabad Ujjaini Mahankali temple, where massive celebrations are held usually, Bonalu has been scheduled on July 12 and 13. 

The folk festival attained the status of a ‘state-festival’, after Telangana’s bifurcation in 2014. On the day of the festival, women make offerings in the form of food to goddess Mahankali in specially decorated pots. At the festival, the oracle forecasts the future of the state.

Attired in their best, women queue up at the temples to offer 'Bonalu', which consists of cooked rice, jaggery, curd and turmeric water, carried in steel and clay pots on their heads. The devotees believe that the annual festival will ward off evil and usher in peace.

The annual festivities conclude with a procession from Akkanna Madanna temple. The procession led by a caparisoned elephant, carrying the 'ghatam' of the goddess, passes through the main thoroughfares of the old city, including the historic Charminar.

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 the Mahankali and began offering 'Bonalu' to placate her.

With IANS inputs


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