Bonalu is a Hindu festival of the Goddess of power, Mahakali, celebrated in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema in India. It is celebrated in the month of Ashada masam, in July/August. Special poojas are performed for Yellamma on the first and last day of the festival. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfillment of vows. Bonam means Bojanaalu or a meal in Telugu, is an offering to the Goddess. Women bring cooked rice with milk, sugar sometimes onions in a brass or earthen pot, adorned with small neem branches and turmeric, vermilion (kunkum) or Kadi (white chalk) and a lamp on the top. Women place the pots on their heads and take it to Goddess temple, led by drummers and dancing men. Goddess temples have names such as Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Pedamma, Dokkalamma, Ankalamma, Poleramma, Maremma, Pochamme, Maramma, Yellammma, Nookalamma etc. and are decorated with special illumination buntings and festoons.
Origin of Bonalu festival
The festival history has started in 1813 in Hyderabad and Secuderabad. Plague disease broke out in Hyderabad around that time claiming thousands of lives. People believed that the disease was the result of the anger of Mother Goddess. So people offered bonalu(Bojanalu) to Mother Goddess Mahankali. The Ritual
Bonalu festival begins with the Golconda Mahankali, located inside the Golconda fort, and follows with Secunderabad's Ujjaini Mahakali Temple also called as Lashkar Bonalu, Balkampet Yellamma temple and then to the old city. On the festival day, women wear silk sarees and jewellery. Some tranced women dance with balancing pots (Bonam), to the rhythmic beats of drums in honour of the local Goddess. To ward off evil spirits, in olden days, people used to sacrifice a male buffalo in front of the temple, but now, roosters are sometimes sacrificed. The festival starts at Golconda
Women carrying Bonalu are believed to possess the spirit of Mother Goddess, and...
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