Continued from Part 3
Every year, during July-August, Hyderabad wears a festive look, celebrating Bonalu.
Bonalu festivities are spread over 4 weeks, with major celebrations being on the Sundays and Mondays. While the celebrations on the first Sunday is special in the Golconda area, the second Sunday is celebrated very grandly at Secunderabad, the most prominent temple in the Secunderabad area being the Mahankali Temple. The third Sunday is dedicated to Balkampet, and the fourth Sunday is allotted to the old city. Huge crowds of devotees throng the 4 major temples during this season, and the area around the temples, sports a happy, cheerful, and colourful look. The festivities come to an end, with a massive procession in the old city on the Monday that follows the fourth Sunday.
Bonalu conjures images of well-lit and well-decorated temples, loud devotional music blaring over microphones, colorfully made-up ‘Potharaju’s dancing in front of the processions, traditionally dressed women carrying offerings on their head to offer them to the Goddess, colourful rangolis, occasional orchestras, and much more. Counted among the most important rituals during the festival, would be the ‘Rangam’ – where the ‘Goddess’ descends upon a devotee and forecasts the coming year. The forecast of Rangam is highly revered and respected by common people.
One thing that you should never miss during this season, is listening to the ‘Mayadari Maisammo, Maisamma’ song. A highly popular folk song, set to a foot-tapping, appealing rhythm, it is a ‘must’ to play during the season. Popularized by singer Clement, the song is iconic. While it is played at most gatherings by orchestras all through the year, it is especially popular during the Bonalu season. Make sure you listen to that song once. You will then surely be asking for more of it.
When you are in Hyderabad during the Bonalu season, visit the nearest temple in your area to seek the blessings of the Goddess. You are almost certain to carry back with you impressions of an atmosphere filled with divinity and joy.
To be continued …..