Bonalu

Bonalu or Mahankali bonalu is a Hindu Festival, Goddess Mahakali is worshiped. Bonalu is an annual festival of Telangana celebrated in Twin Cities Hyderabad, Secunderabad and other parts of Telangana, 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.

Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to that god. From early morning, devotees flock Hanuman temples to worship him.

The history of the origin of this festival traces back to the 19th Century, and is linked with the “Regimental Bazaar” and the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. In the year 1813, plague disease broke out in the twin cities, and this took away the lives of thousands of people. Just before this, a military battalion from Hyderabad was deployed to Ujjain. When this Hyderabadian Military Battalion got to know about the epidemic in the cities, they prayed to the Mother Goddess in Mahankaal Temple – Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. History tells us, that this military battalion prayed to Goddess Mahankaali, to kill plague, and if the Goddess would do so, they had decided to install and idol of Goddess Mahankaali in the city. It is believed that Mahankaali destroyed the disease and kept pestilence at arms length. Then, the military battalion returned to the city & installed an idol of the goddess, which was followed by the offering of Bonalu to her. Hence, from then, this had turned a tradition, which has been followed and is still being followed by all the people belonging to Telangana.

Other versions also include the mythological story and belief that revolves around the festival, says that this is the time when Goddess Mahakali comes back to her parental home, in Ashada Maasam or the period from late June to August, and so, this period is the most optimal time to offer Bonalu to the goddess. This can be compared to the treatment of a girl, who is married, and then returns to her birthplace, and is pampered by her parents.

Bonalu is celebrated in various parts of the city. On the first Sunday of ‘Aashaadam’, celebrations are held at the temple at Golconda Fort. On the second Sunday, at Ujjaini Mahakali Temple in Secunderabad and Balkampet Yellamma temple in Balkampet, and the third Sunday, at The pochamma and katta maisamma temple of chilkalguda and the Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaza in Old City of Hyderabad. Akkanna Madanna temple in Haribowli, Muthyalamma temple in Shah Ali Banda are among other temples where Bonalu are celebrated. Every year, lakhs of devotees congregate to pay obeisance to Mahankali.

On this special occasion women dress up in the traditional Sari combining it with jewels and other accessories. Teenage Girls wear Half-Sarees/Lehenga Choli combining it with jewels in order to bring out the traditional grace of the attire.