The Bonalu festivities in the city took off with celebrations at Golconda here on Sunday. Clad in their festive best, devotees in good numbers started to throng the temple in the morning. A cloudy and pleasant weather in the morning gave way to rains in the afternoon but that did not deter the devotees.
Following the Covid-19 protocols, the historic city of Hyderabad is started celebrating the annual ‘Bonalu’ festival, a thanks giving ritual to Goddess Mahakali for fulfilling devotees’ vows. The month-long Bonalu celebrations started by offering the first golden ‘bonam’ to the goddess at the Jagadamba temple in historic Golconda Fort.
The festivities took off with the ‘thottela’ procession from Langar Houz to the Jagadambika temple in the fort. Idols of different regional forms of Mahankali were taken in the procession led by potharajus. Endowments Minister A.Indrakaran Reddy and Animal Husbandry Minister T.Srinivas Yadav participated in the fesival. They presented silk sarees to the deity at the temple on behalf of the government.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Srinivas Yadav said that every year since the formation of Telangana, Bonalu was being organised on a grand scale. However, citizens could not celebrate the festival last year due to the Covid pandemic, said the Minister, and suggested that this year the festival should be celebrated by following Covid-19 guidelines. He said that the State government had sanctioned the required funds for all Mahankali temples in Hyderabad. More than 600 policemen have been deployed on bandobust duty and officials have urged the devotees to abide by the guidelines.
Temple authorities are expecting a large crowd this time, as women could not fulfill their offerings to the goddesses last year. As per rules, devotees are expected to wear the mask at Golconda or they will not be allowed inside the premises, officials said. However, the main ‘Bonalu’ festival will be celebrated on August 1 at Mahankali Temple, Lal Darwaza. The temple holds celebrations for eleven days, starting from July 23. The chairman of the temple committee said that all preparations were made to hold the festival grandly.