Bonalu is a famous festival in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundrabad celebrated during the month of Ashada (July-August). The term Bonalu comes from “Bhojanalu”, meaning “food”. The ritual consists of an offering of food, made to the Goddess by women, which is later shared by the family and friends. The festival is a month-long affair and includes colorful processions and community feasts. During this festival, women dress colorfully and carrying exquisitely painted pots, with a lamp at the top, on their heads. In these pots, the offerings are taken which include cooked rice, jaggery, curd, water, and sometimes pickles and onions. The women folk are preceded by “Potharajus” who is believed to be the initiator of the festivities and protector of the village. Below are a few glimpses from the Bonalu Festival in 2010.
A woman carries the “Ghatam”, a pot beautifully decorated with turmeric, vermilion, flowers, and neem leaves; with an oil lamp at the top. The pot contains the “Bonam”, the food offered to the Goddess.
Ritual dance being performed in the Golconda Fort on the first Sunday evening of the Bonalu celebration. The first day of the festival is held at the Sri Jagadamba temple in Golconda Fort.
This person adorns the role of the “Potharaju”, the brother of the Goddess, who is believed to be the protector of the village and the initiator of the Bonalu festival.
A person is carrying “Thottela” (a small colorful, paper structure supported by sticks), which is marked as respect and offered to the Goddess by a group of devotees.
The crowd waiting to watch the procession during the first day of the Bonalu festival in Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.
Polices are seen as a devotee carries her offering. The police and RAF (Rapid Action Force) are delegated to maintain the crowd and to avoid any unwanted commotion during the festival.
Girls and women, dressed in beautiful sarees and jewelry, walk along with the procession to the temple.
Reporters and cameramen from local TV channels are capturing the festive mood for telecasting in their news channels.
An aged couple waits for a glimpse of the Goddess during the 3rd day of the Bonalu festival.
A metal pot called “Ghatam”, containing the offerings to the Goddess, being hold by a woman on her head.
A kid selling paper-windmills during the 2nd day of the Bonalu celebration.
A roadside seller is seen as he waits for his customers.
A lady is seen as she sells flowers on the morning of the final day of the Bonalu festival in the old city of Hyderabad.
A father helping his daughter as she struggles to balance the pot on her head.
A lady is holding a metal pot with neem leaves and water. This is considered as part of the offerings to the Goddess.
A man is seen dancing as the procession moves towards the temple.
This lady has come down from Rajasthan for selling wrist bands. Many people like her, come from different places with the hope of getting more business during the festive days.
An old lady holds the offerings during the 3rd day of the Bonalu festival.
The “Bonam”, the food offered to the Goddess, being distributed among the people.
A lady rests her pot on the railing as she waits in the queue before entering the temple.
A mother helps her kid as she tries to carry a metal pot on her head.
A kid sleeps on the shoulder of her father as they wait for her mother outside the temple.
A person peeps out from the crowd. The pots being carried by the women on their heads are seen in the backdrop.
A woman is seen as she yawns while waiting in a long queue outside the temple.
A kid passes by while a vendor blows soap bubbles to attract customers on the 2nd Sunday of the Bonalu festival.