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Secunderabad: Mahankali temple gears up for Bonalu

5 lakh devotees expected to take part in celebrations at Secunderabad

Published Date – 10:47 PM, Mon – 29 May 23

Secunderabad: Mahankali temple gears up for Bonalu
Bonalu festival will commence at Golconda on June 25 and later on June 9, the festival will be celebrated on a grand scale
at Ujjaini Mahanakali Temple. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: The renowned 200-year-old Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderabad is gearing up for Lashkar Bonalu, the annual Telangana State festival, which will be celebrated on July 9. With nearly 5 lakh devotees expected to take part in the Bonalu celebrations at Secunderabad, the temple’s management committee is quite keen to complete the preparations at the earliest.

This year’s Bonalu festival will commence at Golconda on June 25 and later on June 9, the festival will be celebrated on a grand scale at Ujjaini Mahanakali Temple. “Bonalu is a month-long festival and the celebrations at Ujjaini Mahankali temple, which will conclude with the annual Rangam ritual, are well-known across Telangana. In the next few days, we are hoping to finalise the crucial aspect of crowd management and chalk out other necessary details,” says B Ramatheertha Sharma, the temple head priest.

The origin of the festival dates back to 1813 when Suriti Appaiah offered ‘Bonalu’ to goddess Mahankali in Ujjain, to keep his promise. “He began this tradition by installing a small wooden idol of Mahankali. Over the years, we expanded and now the Bonalu festival attracts people from across the nation and abroad who come to offer prayers,” he further said.

It is said that a plague broke out in the twin cities in 1813 that claimed thousands of lives. Days before the epidemic, a military battalion from Secunderabad was transferred to Ujjain and among them was Suriti Appaiah, who prayed to the Mahankali goddess seeking blessings for recovery and the strength to win over the epidemic.

“He promised to set up her temple in Secunderabad on his return. It is widely believed that Goddess Kali answered his prayers and Appaiah offered Bonalu to thank the goddess. He and his fellow military friends maintained the temple for 100 years. Later, around 1964, a stone idol of Goddess Mahankali was installed and with the help of philanthropists of that time, he developed the temple,” says Ramu Sharma, the assistant priest.

Over the years, the Lashkar Bonalu at Ujjaini Mahanakali Temple has spawned small and medium-sized businesses. “We have been selling ‘puja samagri’ for over 15 years and have seen people come from distant places to offer Bonam. Lakhs of people are expected to take part in the Bonalu festival from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the country,” says Jahangir and Abhimanyu, vendors near the temple.

Devotees who visit the temple regularly strongly believe in the Goddess. “The temple offers immense positivity and strength. A few minutes near the idol wipes away all my anxiety and pain. Faith is the only offering that is required,” says Rithika Katare, a resident near the temple.

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