Hyderabad: The lanes and by-lanes of Old City and several parts of Hyderabad wore a festive look on Sunday as the Bonalu festival was celebrated with great traditional devotion and gaiety amidst tight security. The localities reverberated with Mahankali songs and teen maar beats. As the day advanced, the decibel levels of the festivities rose. Streets reverberated with folk songs, including the decade-old favourite Mayadari Maisammo Maisamma.
Long queues were seen at almost all the decked up Mahankali temples. The Lal Darwaza Mahankali Temple and the historic Akkanna Madanna Mahankali temple in Shah Ali Banda, the main centres of the Bonalu festivities in the Old City, witnessed a huge turnout, that included ministers, political leaders and film stars.
Thousands of devotees began thronging the temples from morning and offered their prayers. Women dressed in traditional attire flocked with bonam containing cooked rice, jaggery, curd and neem leaves in steel and clay pots on their heads for offering it to the Goddess.
Potharajus danced to teen maar drumbeats. High security was in place at all the major Mahankali temples. Devotees were asked to pass through metal detectors and were checked by police officials before being allowed inside. At some temples in Old City, committee members got into arguments with the police for their ‘overzealous’ security measures.
Ministers C Ramachandraiah, J Geetha Reddy, Jana Reddy and several MPs, MLA and other leaders of various political parties participated in the festivities and offered prayers at different Mahankali temples of the Old City. Minister Ramachandraian offered Patta Vasthralu (new clothes) on behalf of the state government to the temples in the Old City. Konda Surekha of YSRCP who carried Bonam to the Lal Darwaza Temple prayed for early release of MP Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The festival will conclude on Monday with the oracle prediction, Rangam, followed by a combined procession of a caparisoned elephant, carrying ‘Ghatam’ of the Goddess Mahankali. The procession will pass through the main thoroughfares of Shalibanda, Charminar and Nayapul, where the ghatam will be immersed in the Musi in the evening.