Bonalu, the Telangana state festival, usually celebrated in the month of Ashada, has remained a low key affair this year, owing to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the state. The festivities kick-started on Sunday at Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad with only priests and officials present.
Usually, every year, lakhs of devotees would throng to Secunderabad, Golkonda and various temples for Bonalu, not just from across several districts of Telangana but also from neighbouring states, including Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, to witness this event and to offer their prayers to the goddess Ujjaini Mahankali.
There were barricades put up by police officials restricting the entry of devotees into Secunderabad. For the first time, during the festival, the Ujjaini Mahankali temple streets wore a deserted look.
Earlier, in the month of June, in a high-level meeting conducted by Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav with the temple officials and the temple committee members, it was decided to not to encourage public gathering at this time due to the prevailing situation. As announced, the event remained a low-key affair.
Every year, elephant procession and Jogini dance, (a significant event wherein representatives from the transgender community would come and perform at the temple) would take place. However, all of those events were cancelled. All the devotees were asked to offer bonum (a mix of rice and jaggery) at their own homes.
Bonalu, this year was kicked off by Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadavâ€™s wife, Swarna who offered the first bonum to the goddess. The state offered a Pattu Vasthra to the temple on the same day.
Meanwhile, on Monday, one of the noted events Rangam took place. Rangam is an event where states â€˜futureâ€™ is predicted. The event is held in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, for which usually Minister Talasani Yadav attends as the stateâ€™s representative.