HYDERABAD: At least 500 people from the Banjara community gathered at Bathukamma Ghat on Tank Bund to celebrate the last day of the nine-day long Teej festival. The biggest festival in the community, members tell us that it has been sidelined for a long time and they have all gathered here to highlight the cultural richness of the community and its festivals.
Amid loud music, more than 100 women danced to synchronised local beats and we're excited to submerge their offerings in Hussain Sagar. “It is similar to the Bonalu or the Bathukamma festival among the Telugus. For years now, this annual monsoon festival has been sidelined. It showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Banjara community and is celebrated across the country,” explained Sony Ratnavath who travelled to the city from Singareni.
“It is a festival to welcome the monsoon. On the first day, we put wheat in this small bamboo basket along with natural manure, sand and red soil. By the end of nine days, the plants are submerged in a nearby pond,” said 17-year-old Saraswathi, an intermediate student. “This year all our community members have gathered to promote the importance of this festival,” she said.