Bonalu Festival

The festival that the people of Telangana celebrate with lot of devotion is the “Bonalu Jatara”.

This starts in the month of Ashada of the Telugu calendar. This festival is filled not only with worshipping of different forms of Mahankali, but involves of procession in the surroundings of the temple, where in there will be a lot of dancing along with the chariot of the godess. This is the festival that lasts for a whole month and could be the longest festival that is celebrated all across India.



The festival starts on the first Thursday of the Ashada Maasam with a ritual known as Ghatotsavam. In Ghatotsavam, a copper pot decorated in the form of the Goddess with Turmeric ,Neem leaves   and flowers. It is carried over the head of a priest who has Turmeric all over his body and wears a dhoti, around the whole town along with trumpets and drums. This is in significance of bringing the Goddess to each and every household in the surrounding areas. After the festival is initiated in Golconda, it spreads to all the parts of Telangana and ends once again at Golconda only.

This festival is celebrated for seeking the blessings of the Godess so that there will no calamities and that all should live happily.

The main part of the festival is offering the bonam  to the Goddess, which is done on Sundays.

woman carrying bonam

woman carrying bonam

The bonam consists of rice which is cooked along with milk and jaggery, tamarind juice and water all in different pots made of mud or metal.

These pots are decorated with Turmeric and kumkum and Neem leaves along with a lamp on the pots are carried on head to the temple of the Godess. This is offered on Sunday every week at different places of Telangana until the festival ends.

The bonamis carried to the temple with trumpets and drums and people dancing along with a special person

called Potharaju who is considered to be the only brother of the seven different forms of Godess Mahankali. It is a visual treat to watch the procession consisting of the “Phalaharapu Bandlu”  and “potharaju”.


potharaju brother of the seven sisters the seven different forms of goddess Mahankali

The devotees then offer the bonam and Saka to the Godess as symbol of their happiness for looking down on them kindly and keeping them away from any disasters or calamities. It is also offered to fulfill their vows that they made to the Goddess.

The interesting part of the festival is the Rangam, which is on the next day after the bonam is offered i.e on Monday. In this ritual a woman who is believed to be possessed by the Goddess would foretell the future for that year standing on a pot which is newly made and has not been burnt. The pot as above is not hard and is newly made and not burnt so it is still wet.

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