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Bonalu Festival: Devotees Pay Thanks to Goddess Mahakali

Men dressed as Potharaju, brother of the Goddess Mahakali, at the traditional Hindu festival of Bonalu in India. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ NOAH SEELAM)

Men dressed as Potharaju, brother of the Goddess Mahakali, at the traditional Hindu festival of Bonalu in India. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ NOAH SEELAM)

Bonalu festival originated in the state of Telangana in 1813, following a plague epidemic in the region.

Bonalu festival was celebrated in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, India, on Monday. This Hindu festival pays thanks to the Goddess Mahakali with celebrations, dances, costumes, rituals and offerings.

This festival originated in the state of Telangana in 1813, following a plague epidemic in the region. A military battalion prayed to the Goddess Mahakali to spare the twin cities, which by then had already seen thousands of deaths. To show their gratitude, the battalion installed a statue of the Goddess in the city temple. Each year, residents honor and worship the Goddess with dances, mostly carried out by women, and rituals in different parts of the two cities.

This is the Pothuraju ritual, named after the goddess's brother, which opens festivities.

Bonalu always takes place during the months of July and August.

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