Bathukamma to become Onam of Telangana
- Bathukamma is celebrated during the latter half of monsoon, before the onset of winter.
- The womenfolk of Telangana celebrate the blooming of wildflowers and explosion of colours as Bathukamma.
- The festival will be celebrated in Telangana from September 30 to October 9.
Telangana government has decided to celebrate the state's colourful Bathukamma festival on the lines of Onam of Kerala.
To highlight Telangana culture’s distinct and unique feature, the state government is planning to promote the festival globally like Onam, which has become a synonym for Malayali culture.
The government of India is also using Onam celebration as part of its Incredible India campaign to attract global tourists to the harvest festival of "God's Own Country".
It'll also make Telangana culturally separate from 'Andhra' which is abhorred in every form during the long Telangana movement in 1969 and later in 2013.
The beauty of Telangana lies in its folk traditions and celebration of mother goddesses such as Bathukamma, Mysamma, Pochamma, Peddamma and Sammakka Saralakka. Of all these, Bathukamma stands out most colourful and takes participants closer to the wild nature. As the presiding deity is always the mother in Telangana festivals, women dominate the celebrations.
Taking the cue from the Onam, Telangana is highlighting the festival in such a way that it represents the state on the global arena.
The ten-day Batukamma festival will be celebrated across the state and among the Telangana diaspora from September 30 to October 9.
The government, today, has instructed the department of culture to make the festival a spectacular event and released a sum of Rs 15 crore.
"We want to celebrate it on the lines of Onam of Kerala. About six thousand women will participate at the state-level celebration on October 6 at LB Stadium, Hyderabad. On October 9, a grand ‘Batukamma Nimajjanam"(immersion) will be organised for the benefit of women folk."
"Thousands of women will participate in the Nimajjanam and the procession that precedes it. The government will provide facilities like toilets near the Tank Bund," said chief secretary Rajeev Sharma after a meeting in which all senior officials from the department of culture participated.
According to a senior official who participated in the meeting, the plan is to make Bathukamma as Onam of Telangana.
"Onam is typically a rural and colourful festival, celebrated by women folk. There is a close similarity between Onam and Batukamma. Lakhs of foreign tourists flock to Kerala during the 10-day festival only to participate in Onam. We are expecting a similar response to the Bathukamma as well," the official said.
Another important element borrowed from Kerala is the traditional Kasavu saree. "Kerala women wear a white saree during the festival which also added a unique cultural element to the celebration. We are also planning to declare the official colour of the saree for Bathukamma," he told Asianet Newsable.
All the women, who participate in the LB Stadium celebration will wear the saree in official colour, he added.
About Bathukamma festival
According to Telangana government's official website, Bathukamma is celebrated during the latter half of monsoon, before the onset of winter.
The monsoon rains usually bring plenty of water into the ponds, tanks of Telangana, and it is also the time when wildflowers bloom in vibrant colours across the uncultivated and barren plains of the region. The most abundant of these flowers are ‘gunuka’ (or ‘gunugu’) and ‘tangedu’.
The website also mentions: "The ‘shilpakka pandlu’ (or ‘sitaphalalu’), custard apples, are another great attraction during this season. Sitaphalam grows in the wild with little or no water and is often called the ‘poor man’s apple’. Then there is corn (‘jonna’ and ‘mokka jonna’) waiting to be harvested."
"The womenfolk of Telangana celebrate the blooming of wildflowers and explosion of colours as Bathukamma. The festival begins a week or ten days before the ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ (the grand finale of the Bathukamma festival) which falls two days before Dassera. The womenfolk normally get back to their parents’ homes from their in-laws and breathe the fresh air of freedom to celebrate the colours of flowers."
During the festival season, they make small ‘Bathukammas’, play around them, singing songs in a chorus that revolve around the life in Telangana, every evening and immerse them in a nearby water pond.
"As evening approaches the womenfolk dress colourfully in best of their attire and adorn lot of ornaments and places the Batukamma in their courtyard. The neighbourhood women also gather in a large circling the Batukamma. They sing songs while moving in circles which represent unity, love, sisterhood and of course, now statehood."
"After playing around the ‘Batukammalu’, before the onset of dusk, the womenfolk carry them on their heads and move as a procession towards a bigger water body near the village or town. The procession is extremely glittering with aptly dressed and decorated women and “Bathukammalu”. Songs of folklore are sung in chorus throughout the procession, and the streets resonate with them."
"Finally, when they reach the water pond, the ‘Bathukammalu’ are slowly immersed into the water after another round of playing and singing. Then they share the ‘maleeda’ (a dessert made with sugar or raw sugar and corn bread) sweets amongst the family members and neighbourhood folks. They return to their homes with empty ‘taambaalam’(brass plate) singing songs in praise of Bathukamma. The songs of Bathukamma echo in the streets until late night during the entire week," the website said.