The most popular Ujjaini Mahankali Bonalu festival in Secunderabad started on grand note here on Sunday.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s family had darshan and offered silk clothes to the Goddess Mahankali and cleared his ‘Mokkulu’ later. The Temple officials offered Theertha Prasadams to the Chief Minister couple. Earlier, the Endowments Minister Indrakaran Reddy and Cinematography Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav and officials welcomed the Chief Minister on grand note. Rajya Sabha member K Keshava Rao and Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy accompanied the Chief Minister.
In the morning, Talasani offered first Bonam to Ammavaru early at 4 am. He offered Bonam along with pattu cloths to the presiding deity. Speaking on the occasion, Talasani said all security measures have been taken to see that the devotees not to get any trouble. He explained that the government was organizing the Mahankali Bonalu on grand note as the government recognized the Boanlu festival as State festival. The Minister wished that the State has to grow green with good rains and crops. On the other hand, the devotees were in queue since 2am to offer Bonalu.
Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya visited the temple with his family members, and performed puja.
Endowment Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy had a darshan and offered special prayers to the goddess on the occasion. He also supervised the arrangements in the temple. Ministers T Harish Rao, T Padma Rao, BJP State president Dr K Laxman, BJLP leader G Kishan Reddy and others had darshan of Mahankali Ammavaru.
Thousands of devotees were standing in three to four-km long queues. Though a separate queue was arranged for women, they were still waiting for four hours for their turn to offer ‘bonalu’ to the goddess.
Police made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peaceful and hassle-free conduct of the festival. Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy said 3,000 police personnel were deployed.
Police also installed more than 125 surveillance cameras to keep a vigil during the celebrations. (NSS)