Bonalu festivities kicked off on Sunday in Secunderabad with an unending crowd of devotees gathering to witness celebrations at Ujjaini Mahakali Matha Devasthanam.
Bonalu Festivities off to a Colourful Start in Secunderabad
Devotees, mainly women, gathered at the temple in large numbers at 4 a.m. to offer bonam, rice cooked in milk and jaggery. Crowds swelled by early afternoon as devotees continued to pour in for darshan. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao offered silk clothes to the goddess in the afternoon.
Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, Telangana ministers Naini Narasimha Reddy, Etala Rajender, A. Indrakaran Reddy and Nizamabad MP K. Kavitha also visited the temple.
Bonam offerings to the goddess continued to be made throughout the day while temple officials restricted offerings of clothes between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. A carnival-like atmosphere could be witnessed outside most Mahakali temples in Secunderabad, including the Balkampet Yellama Temple and Mahadevi Pochamma Temple at Karbala Maidan.
Secunderabad Ujjain Mahakali Temple representatives said that the festivities on Sunday went on peacefully and would resume on Monday.
“Big queues could be managed easily thanks to the State’s arrangements. Following Rangam and the symbolic pumpkin sacrifice, the Ghatam (a symbolic representation of the goddess which is worshipped during festivities) will be taken out for procession on Monday,” the temple’s chief priest, Ramthatheertha Sharma, said.
Later on Sunday, colourfully decorated chariots from several colonies around the Ujjain Mahakali temple, called ‘Palahara Bandi’, began to arrive at the temple. These chariots were led by Pothurajus who danced and lashed as they led processions. Devotees continued to throng temples in the area well past midnight.
The Rangam or prediction ritual by an oracle on Monday is expected to draw massive crowds that curiously listen every year to predictions made for the State and the government.
After the Rangam ritual, the Ghatam , will be taken on an elephant procession towards Mettuguda, marking the conclusion of bonalu in Secunderabad.