Hyderabad, July 28 (INN): Thousands of devotees including Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Opposition leaders N Chandrababu Naidu, YS Vijayamma and several ministers and legislators on Sunday performed special pujas to mark Bonalu Jatara at Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad.
Kiran Kumar Reddy was accorded a traditional welcome by the temple authorities as he reached the temple on Sunday morning for taking part in the special puja. The Chief Minister offered silk clothes to Goddess Mahakali on his visit to the temple.
Thousands of devotees also made a beeline for the temple from the early hours of Sunday to perform puja. The occasion was marked by traditional pomp and religious fervour.
Bonalu is an annual festival celebrated throughout Telangana region, especially in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Bonalu or Mahakali Bonalu Jatara is a thanksgiving festival dedicated to Goddess Mahakali, who is also worshipped as Mysamma, Yellamma (Renuka mata), Pochamma, Peddamma, Poleramma, Maramma, and Ankalamma.
Ujjaini Mahankali Temple Bonalu jathra, also known as Lashkar Bonalu, is an annual event celebrated for two days in Telugu Ashada masam.
Bonam means Bojanaalu or meal in Telugu, the native language, is an offering to Mahankali.
During the festival, women bring their offerings in colourful clay pots decorated with neem leaves and a diya on the top. They carry the clay pots on their head, proceed towards the Mahakali temple and perform special pujas to offer bonam to the Goddess.
According to legend, in 1869, the people of Hyderabad and Secunderabad were under struck by plague. Many people had died and with many more afflicted by the dreaded disease. People thought that the epidemic was a result of Goddess anger on them and initiated Bonalu to pacify the Goddess Mahankali. It is said that after the Bonalu was offered, the scourge soon started to diminish and finally ended altogether.