PHOTOS: Ch Vijaya Bhaskar, former Chief Photographer, The Hindu, Vijayawada.
Vijayawada, July 18:
The Bhagyanagar (Hyderabad) Bonalu Utsav Committee presented Bonalu to Goddess Kanakadurga in Vijayawada on Sunday.
The word Bonam (singular of Bonalu) is a contraction of the word Bhojanam, a Sanskrit loan word which means a meal or a feast in Telugu. It is an offering to the Mother Goddess. Women prepare rice cooked with milk and jaggery in a new brass or earthen pot adorned with neem leaves, turmeric, vermilion and a lit lamp on top of the pot. Women carry the pots on their heads and make an offering of the Bonam along with turmeric-vermilion, bangles and sari to the Mother Goddess across the temples.
Women dress up in the traditional Sari, jewels and other accessories. Teenage girls wear half Saris/Lehenga Choli, and ornaments to bring out the traditional grace of the attire. Some Tranced women dance with balancing pots (Bonam), to the rhythmic beats of drums in honour of the local goddess. To ward off evil spirits, in olden days, people used to sacrifice a male buffalo in front of the temple, but now it is replaced with the sacrifice of roosters.
Devotees offer Bonalu to deities in all the major Mahakali temples. The Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada is one of the most popular Mahakali temples in the world.