A Telangana festival that celebrates life
City soaks in the Bathukamma spirit Nizamabad MP Kavitha Kalvakuntla, daughter of Chief Minister KCR, though jumped on the T-movement a bit late, made it her own by kick starting the Telangana Jagruthi. Through the organisation Kavitha not only celebrated festivals of Telangana but also spread the much needed awareness and glamour. Her passion for celebrating Bathukamma was widely reported and KCR declaring it as the state festival is a gift to the brand ambassador.
As the sun sets on Wednesday, the lanes and bylanes of the city will be flocked by women — young and old — dressed in their best attire to celebrate Bathukamma. Women usually carry cone-shaped floral decoration with a diya atop and idol of Goddess Gowri (a form of Durga) made from turmeric. The idol is placed at the centre of the cone. Called as Bathukammas, the floral decorations are stacked in a circle and women sing and dance to traditional songs like ‘Bathukamma Btahukamma Vuyyalo, Bangaru Bathukamma Vuyyalo’, ‘Chikkudu Vaakitlo Vuyyalo’, etc.
Bathukamma represents the cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is arranged with unique seasonal flowers, most of them with medicinal value, in seven concentric layers in the shape of a potter’s clay like a cone. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess Come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri — Life Giver– is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron Goddess of womanhood (Maha Gauri Devi). It is the festival for feminine felicitation. The festival which falls on Bhadrapada Amavasya (Mahalaya Amavasya) marks the end of Varsha Ruthu (rainy season).
All the flowers available during the season–Cassia (thangedu), luffa (bera), celosia (gunugu), nelumbo (thamara), cucurbita (gummadi), marigold (banthi), crossandra (kanakambaram), ixora (ramabanam), hibiscus (mandhara) and so on — are collected and attractively arranged.
Legend has it that king Daksha performed a ‘yagna’ and invited all but his youngest daughter ‘Gauri’, who married Lord Siva against his will. However, Gauri goes to the yagna uninvited and is insulted by her father. Gauri then kills herself by jumping into the yagna fire. Women make an image with turmeric paste and worship it as Gauri urging her to come back to life. According to folklore, this is also a spiritual celebration offering prayers to Goddess Kali by women to bless their children with long life.
The nine-day festivities which run parallel to Dasara, will culminate on “Saddula Bathukamma” or “Pedda Bathukamma” festival on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days before Dasara.