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Bonalu festival begins in Hyderabad amid fanfare


Hyderabad, July 7: Bonalu festival began on Sunday amid fanfare with devotees offering the first Bonam to goddess Jagadambika at historic Golconda Fort here. The month-long festival, which symbolises the unique culture of Telangana, began with the traditional Golconda Bonalu.

Endowment minister Konda Surekha presented silk robes to the goddess on behalf of the state government. Assembly Speaker Gaddam Prasad Kumar, Minister for Transport Ponnam Prabhakar, MLA D. Nagender, Greater Hyderabad Mayor Gadwal Vijayalaxmi and others were present. A procession was taken from Langar House to Jagdamba temple at Golconda fort.

A large number of women with pots on their heads, ‘Potharajus’ and devotees participated in the event. The women devotees offered 'Bonam', containing cooked rice, jaggery, curd and neem leaves to the goddess.

Golconda Bonalu ushers in the ‘Ashadam’ month, during which the festival is celebrated at various places in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and other parts of Telangana. Golconda Bonalu will conclude on August 4. The celebrations are organised every Sunday and Thursday.

Every year, the festival is held in Hyderabad in three phases. Golconda Bonalu will be followed by Lashkar Bonalu, which is held at the Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad. The festivities will conclude at Sri Simhavahini Mahankali temple in Lal Darwaza and at Sri Akkanna Madanna Mahankali temple in Haribowli in the old city of Hyderabad.

Devotees, especially women, make offerings in the form of food to goddess in specially decorated pots. 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 Mahankali and began offering Bonalu to placate her.

Lashkar Bonalu will be celebrated on July 21 and 22 while Lal Darwaza Bonalu is scheduled on July 28 and 29. This year, the state government has released Rs 20 crore for celebrating Bonalu. The endowment department distributed cheques to temple committees. The festival calendar, coffee table book, posters and CDs of Bonalu-inspired songs were also released by endowment minister Konda Surekha on Saturday.

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