Hyderabad: The Bonalu festival was celebrated in Hyderabad on Sunday on a subdued note, with devotees barred from visiting the temples in view of Covid-19.
The famous Lal Darwaza Mahankali temple and Akkanna Madanna Mahankali temple in Haribowli were out of bounds for the devotees in view of the restrictions imposed by the authorities.
Few devotees were seen at some Mahankali temples in the city as the government had appealed to people to celebrate the festival at their home.
All the roads leading to the two famous temples in the old city were sealed by the police to prevent any gathering.
The police had made elaborate security arrangements with the deployment of the City Rapid Action Force as a precautionary measure.
Lal Darwaza temple
The celebrations at Lal Darwaza temple began early in the morning with only the temple committee members attending the rituals performed by the priests. Endowment Department officials made the offering on behalf of the state government.
A temple official said ‘Maha Abhishekham’ was held in the morning while ‘Shanti Kalyanam’ will be performed in the evening to pray for global peace.
The traditional procession on a decorated elephant, carrying ‘ghatams’ of Goddess Mahankali from Akkanna Madanna temple, Haribowli will not be taken out on Monday as police have not given permission.
Potharaju programme and Rangam will be held followed by the ghatam being taken for the closing ceremony to the temple in river Musi. Five persons will take the ghatam in an auto-rickshaw from the temple.
On July 12, the festival was celebrated low-key at famous Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad.
The nearly month-long festival began on June 25 with the celebrations at the Sri Jagadamba temple atop the historic Golconda Fort.
The folk festival is mainly celebrated in the twin cities region during the month of ‘Ashada’. Women make offerings, in the form of food, to goddess Mahankali in specially decorated pots. During the month-long festival, people also hold rangam or forecasting the future, organise processions and cultural events.
During the festival, women 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.
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.
After formation of Telangana state in 2014, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had declared Bonalu as the state festival.