Bonalu is a local Telugu festival in Telangana. Bonam means Bhojanam i.e feast in Telugu. It is celebrated during the month of Ashaadam. Goddess Mahankali (other form of Goddess Durga) is worshipped during this festival and is considered to be a thanksgiving to the Goddess as a fulfilment of vows. Just as the family would welcome the daughters return to their home, devotees celebrate the Goddess’s visit to their home. There are other forms of Goddess Mahankali that are worshipped during Bonalu such as Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Poleramma, Pedamma, Nookalamma etc. Women dress up in traditional sarees and Teenage girls don Half- sarees. Woman prepare rice cooked in Milk, Jaggery as a pleasing preparation to the Goddess. They carry an Earthen or a Brass pot decorated by Neem leaves, Turmeric and vermilion, bangles and saree to be offered to the Goddess.
History of Bonalu Festival
The History of the festival years back to 1813. A military battalion was deployed in Ujjain, Madhya pradesh and there was a great plague that claimed the lives of many people. The military battalion offered prayers to Mother Goddess at Mahankaali Temple in Ujjain for the relief from Plague and promised to install an idol in Secunderabad/Hyderabad once they return. The plague was halted by the Goddess and the battalion installed the idol and since then the Festival is being celebrated.
Bonalu is celebrated across various parts of the city and many other places from Telangana state. Lakhs of devotees crowd the sanctuaries to pay regard to Mahankaali.
Golconda Mahnakli Temple
The first Bonam begins at Golconda Mahankali or Mangaladevi temple during the first Sunday of ashaadam, Women who carry Bonalu are believed to possessing the spirit of Mother Goddess, and when they approach temple, people sprinkle water on their feet in order to pacify the spirit, which is believed to be aggressive. Devotees offer Thottelu.
Ujjaini Mahakali and Balkampet Yellamma Temple
The first Bonam of Golconda Mahankali temple is followed by Ujjaini Mahakali Temple in Secunderabad and Balkampet Yellamma temple in Balkampet on second Sunday of ashaadam.
Pochamma and Katta Maisamma Temple
The second Bonam of Ujjaini Mahakali and Balkampet Yellama temple is followed by Pochamma and Katta Maisamma temple near Chilkalguda.
Lal Darwaza Matheswari
The third bonam of Pochamma and Katta Maisamma temple is followed by Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaza in Old City of Hyderabad on fourth Sunday of ashaadam. Other temples such as Akkanna Madanna temple in Haribowli, Muthyalamma temple in Shah Ali Banda are the popular venues where Bonalu is celebrated.
Thottela is also a part of the bonalu festival, its one the offerings to the goddess it is artifact of Telangana people which is made of the bamboo sticks and colourful transparent papers and it got attached image of goddess Mahankali, the Thottela looks like a temple doom.
Potharaju who is considered as Mother Goddesses brother dances throughout to the beats during the procession. Potharaju is generally a bare bodied man with turmeric applied all over his body and is draped in red dhoti. Pothuraju dances close to Palaharam Bandi, the procession.
Bonalu is where there is an awesome contribution to Mother Goddess and families additionally share these contributions with other relatives and visitors.
Rangam, Ghatam: The Mandatory Rituals at Akkanna Madanna Temple:
Rangam implies an assembled carcade on a chariot is taken on an elephant that is decked out in rich enhancing covering and consequently completed till “Ghatam” of the Divinity- Mother-Mahankali. This magnificent gaiety is ended up with a ritual- “Rangam”, which is defined as the oracle prediction at Akkanna Madanna Temple followed by a striking procession on the next day. devotees especially women perform this tradition by invoking Goddess Mahankali in herself and help devotees with knowing their futures apparently.