Bonalu 2024

31 July 2024
Telangana    Regional holiday

Bonalu is a traditional Hindu festival of the Indian state of Telangana. On this auspicious day, Goddess Mahakali is worshipped all over Telangana. Bonalu is usually celebrated during Ashada Masam that falls in July or August. Special poojas are performed for goddess Yellamma during the first and last day of the festival. The festival is celebrated as a form of thanksgiving to the Goddess for the fulfilment of the wishes of everyone. Bonam literally means Meal in Telugu, hence a vast meal is offered to the Mother Goddess.

Women in the household prepare rice that is cooked along with Milk, Jaggery in a New Earthen or Brass Pot, which is decorated with Neem Leaves, Turmeric and Vermilion. Women carry these pots on their heads and make an offering of Bonam, including Bangles and Saree to the Mother Goddess at various temples across the state. Bonalu involves worship of Kali in her various forms such as Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Dokkalamma, Pedamma, Poleramma, Ankalamma, Maremma, Nookalamma etc.

The festival reportedly originated in 1813 in the region of Hyderabad & Secunderabad when plague disease had broken out in these areas that had claimed thousands of lives. A military battalion from Hyderabad was then deployed to Ujjain and worried about the plague disease in Hyderabad the military battalion offered prayers to Mother Goddess at Mahankaali Temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. They pledged that if people get relieved from the plague they would be installing the idol of Mahankaali back in Secunderabad. It is believed by devotees that Mahankaali halted the spread of the disease while the Military Battalion came back here and installed an idol by offering Bonalu to Mother Mahankaali. Hence, this day of installing the idol of Mahakali is celebrated every year as Bonalu.