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Golconda Bonalu 2024

Golconda Bonalu 2024

Golkonda Bonalu Festival: A Vibrant Celebration in Hyderabad

Introduction to Golconda Bonalu 2024

The Golkonda Bonalu Festival marks the commencement of the Bonalu festivities in Hyderabad, an event deeply rooted in history and culture. Thousands of devotees gather at the Golkonda Fort to offer their prayers and bonams (a special offering in a pot) to Goddess Mahakali. This vibrant festival showcases the devotion and traditions of the local community, bringing together people in a grand celebration.

Early Morning Rituals and Preparations

From as early as 5:30 AM, devotees start arriving at the Golkonda Fort. The atmosphere is filled with devotion as the leaders of various community associations offer bonams with raw pots. Special security arrangements are made to ensure the safety and convenience of the devotees, with around 600 police officers deployed for the occasion. Medical staff are also on hand to provide any necessary assistance.

Traditional Offerings and Processions

At the break of dawn, Shankar, a leader from the community associations, offers the first bonam to the Goddess Mahakali. This significant act is followed by a grand procession in the afternoon, where the idol of Goddess Jagadambika is carried from the residence of the temple priest, Sarvesh Kumar, at Fateh Darwaza. The idol is then majestically paraded from the residence of Bommal Sai Babachari, another community leader. The procession features a hundred poturajus (folk dancers) and an elephant named Airavata, creating a spectacular visual treat. Additionally, a grand feast is organized at Sai Babachari’s residence, serving food to over a thousand people.

Enhanced Security Measures

Given the large turnout of devotees, strict security measures are in place. The police have banned DJs during the celebrations, allowing only sound boxes for music. Surveillance is heightened with the installation of 150 CCTV cameras. Ministers Konda Surekha and Ponnam Prabhakar will offer silk garments to the Goddess at Langer House junction.

Historical Significance of Bonalu

Bonalu’s origins trace back to the 18th century in the erstwhile Hyderabad State. The festival is believed to have started in 1813 when a deadly plague swept through Hyderabad and Secunderabad. A military battalion from Hyderabad, stationed in Ujjaini, prayed to Goddess Mahakali for relief from the plague, promising to install an idol of the Goddess upon their safe return. The festival has since become an annual tradition to honor the Goddess for her protection and blessings.

Bonalu Celebrations Across Hyderabad

Bonalu is celebrated in various parts of Hyderabad over multiple Sundays during the Aashada Maasam (Hindu month of Aashaada), from late June to August. The celebrations kick off at Golkonda Fort on the first Sunday, followed by the Ujjaini Mahakali Temple in Secunderabad, and the Balkampet Yellamma Temple on the second Sunday. The third Sunday sees festivities at the Pochamma and Katta Maisamma temples near Chilkalguda and the Matheswari temple at Lal Darwaza in the Old City. Other significant locations include the Akkanna Madanna Temple in Haribowli and the Muthyalamma Temple in Shah Ali Banda, attracting lakhs of devotees who come to pay their respects to Goddess Mahakali.

Traditional Attire and Rituals

Women don traditional saris adorned with jewels, while teenage girls wear half-sarees with diamond embellishments, highlighting the cultural elegance of the festival. Some women enter a trance state, dancing with pots on their heads to the rhythmic beats of drums in honor of the Goddess. The event begins at Golkonda Fort, where women carrying bonams are believed to be possessed by the spirit of the Mother Goddess. As they approach the temple, devotees pour water on their feet to pacify the spirit.

Festivities and Food at Golconda Bonalu 2024

The term “bonalu” translates to “feast” in Telugu, underscoring the importance of food in the celebrations. Special delicacies are prepared as offerings to the Goddess. Various forms of the Goddess are worshipped, and specific rituals or “poojas” are conducted to appease her.

The Origin of Bonalu Festival 2024

The Bonalu festival’s origin is linked to the 19th-century plague outbreak in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The local residents prayed to Goddess Mahakali for protection, offering special prayers and bonams. When the plague ceased, they vowed to continue this tradition annually in gratitude for the Goddess’s mercy and grace.

What is Secunderabad Bonalu called?

The Secunderabad Bonalu, celebrated on the third Sunday of the Telugu month Ashada masam, is also known as Ashada Jatara Utsavalu.

When did the Bonalu festival start?

The Bonalu festival began in 1813 in Hyderabad and Secunderabad during the peak of the plague epidemic.

Who is Pochamma?

Pochamma is a well-known folk goddess in Andhra Pradesh. Each village has a shrine dedicated to her, usually under a neem tree, where she is worshipped in the form of a stone idol.

What is the history behind Bonalu?

The Bonalu festival originated when a plague ravaged Hyderabad and Secunderabad in 1813. A military unit from Hyderabad, stationed in Ujjain, prayed to Goddess Mahakali to end the epidemic, promising to build an idol in the cities if their prayers were answered. After the plague subsided, they fulfilled their vow, and the people of Telangana have continued to observe this ceremony ever since.

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