HYDERABAD: The whole of Secunderabad wore a festive look as thousands of devotees thronged the famous Sri Ujjaini Mahankali Temple and several other Mahankali temples in Secunderabad on Sunday on the occasion of Bonalu, an important festival of Telangana region particularly in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Bonalu is an important Hindu festival dedicated to the Mother Goddess and is held in the month of Ashadam.
The festival is celebrated to ward off evil and usher in peace and harmony.
‘Rangam’ (foretelling the future) by a young unmarried women, will be performed 8.30 am on July 13.
Lashkar Bonalu began on Sunday with a large number of devotees, especially women and young girls dressed in their best traditional attire offering ‘bonam’ (a pot carrying rice, turmeric powder, jaggery, milk and curd and covered with neem leaves and a lamp placed on it) on their heads to Goddess Mahankali and other Goddesses at various temples in Secunderabad. ‘Pothrajus’ and ‘Ghatams’ accompanied by ‘teen maar’ drumbeats and Telugu folk songs reverberated from every lane and bylane of Secunderabad that attracted the attention of passers-by.
The temple was also decked up for the festival with special illumination buntings and festoons. The lanes of Secunderabad were filled with processions of devotees and carrying of ghatams.
Devotees from surrounding districts including Ranga Reddy, Mahaboobnagar, Medak and Nalgonda too visited the temple and offered prayers.
Separate queues were made for the convenience of devotees carrying bonalu, and handicapped and aged persons.
Water sachets and prasadam were supplied free to the devotees.
The devotees also thronged different Mahankali temples located in the Ramgopalpet, Pan Bazar, Mettuguda, Bhoiguda, R P Road and M G Road, Paradise, Ranigunj, YMCA which wore a festive look. These temples, small and big, were crowded with devotees and also tastefully decorated with neem and mango leaves. In the evening, these places of worship glittered under the light of colourful bulbs.
Some of the VIPs to visit the Ujjaini Mahankali temple included Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu, Praja Rajyam Party president K Chiranjeevi, vice-president T Devender Goud and a host of ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior Government officials.
The festival will conclude on Monday with Rangam and a procession of Mahankali Goddess on an elephant in surrounding localities of the temple.
The deity at Sri Ujjaini Mahankali Temple was installed in the beginning of 19th century by some devotees from Ujjaini. The devotees were part of an Army contingent and when they arrived at Secunderabad, the place was hit by a major cholera outbreak in which several hundreds died. Some of the soldiers in the Army contingent returned to Mahankali Devasthanam at Ujjaini and prayed to the Goddess to save Telangana region from the grip of cholera. Miraculously, cholera disappeared from the region and the grateful soldiers installed an idol of Goddess Ujjaini at Secunderabad.