Hyderabad: It is that time of the year when India’s youngest state gets together and celebrates the floral festival, ‘Bathukamma’ – an embodiment of Telangana’s rich cultural identity. The nine-day festival, which began on Saturday, will continue till October 6.
The entire state of Telangana, particularly the capital city of Hyderabad, is lit up to become a part of grandeur celebrations, which are held for nine days.
‘Bathukamma’ is a floral festival celebrated particularly by the women of Telangana. The festival takes place towards the end of the monsoon season, just before the onset of winter.
Since a lot of water inflows during monsoons, there is high cultivation of wild flowers in multiple vibrant colors- which are used to celebrate ‘Bathukamma’. The most widely used flowers are ‘gunuka’ (or ‘gunugu’) and ‘tangedu’. Other flowers like the ‘banti’, ‘chamanti’ and ‘nandi-vardhanam’ are also used.
Traditionally, Bathukamma is all about worshipping the local goddesses of Telangana and revering to their power during the monsoon season.
The festival begins a week before the ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ (the finale of the Bathukamma festival), which falls two days before the Dussehra.
Women make small ‘Bathukammas’ during the nine-day period, dance around them every evening and immerse them in a nearby water pond. ‘Bathukammas’ are colorful flowers carefully arranged in circular rows in a brass plate (called ‘taambalam’).
After the formation of Telangana in 2014, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) declared ‘Bathukamma’ a state festival.
Schools and educational institutions have declared a nine-day holiday to take part in this folk festival. All the government offices in the state are also decked up for celebrations.
As part of the festivities, the state government distributes ‘sarees’ to women from BPL (Below Poverty Line) families. The government is giving away 1.02 crore sarees this year, spending around Rs 313 crore with each saree costing Rs 280.
Since the sarees have been sourced from the weaver clusters in the state, minister KT Rama Rao believes this initiative is increasing employment and providing good prices to the power loom weavers.
‘Bathukamma’ celebrations are not just limited to Telangana as they have reached a global audience this year. ‘Telangana Jagruthi’ – a non-profit run by former MP and CM KCR’s daughter, K Kavitha, said it was all set to celebrate Bathukamma on a global level. Apart from celebrating the festival at 300 locations in Telangana, festivities are also being organised in Mumbai and 12 other international locations in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, Qatar, Oman and some Middle Eastern countries.
"Bathukamma has been promoting values and has added spiritual significance to the daily lives of people,” Kavitha said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a book named ‘Pula Singidi’ (which translates to a rainbow of flowers) - written by 316 female poets, will be released on Monday in Hyderabad, as part of the festivities.