The above pictures and the smiles in them speak of the devotion and happiness that Bathukamma Panduga; the nine days festival brings about in our family and similarly in many families of Telangana. It is one of the many unique festivals of Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh. It is an exclusively all women and girls festival. The men and boys get to hear and enjoy Bathukamma songs, daily prasadams and festive meals. Nowadays; it is celebrated not only in Telangana region but all over the country and world over, wherever there are families of Telangana origin.
Bathuku means Life and Amma means Mother and this is the festival of the ‘Life-giver/protector’ Goddess Gauramma. Bathukamma is prayed in the form of a conical flower arrangement and small cones made of turmeric paste as you can see in the above photographs. Bathukamma festival starts on Mahalaya Amavasya also called Pethra Amaasa. Starting from this day every evening for nine days women arrange flowers of different colors on a plate in a conical manner and move around this floral Bathukamma in a circle and in unison, synchronizing body movements, steps, claps and sing Bathukamma folk songs. After the lead singer renders a short verse, the entire group around the Poola Bathukamma repeats it in a chorus, dancing and clapping to the rhythm. Some of these songs are made up instantaneously on their family members and family history. This goes on for some time every evening until everyone gets chances to sing Bathukamma Patalu (Songs). For eight days Bathukamma is normally made of a smaller size and after singing and dancing around, Bathukamma is left in a water tank in the house and if convenient in a nearby lake or river. On the ninth day, the last day of the festival which is on Ashweeyuja Shukla Ashtami a very large Bathukamma is made as per ones interest. This day is called as Saddula Bathukamma. On this day the women and girls put on the best of silks and jewellery and play Bathukamma for much longer time. Not only do they play at home and in front of their house along with neighbors but also at the nearest lake or river bed along with many other women who come there with their Bathukammas. After this, Bathukamma is bid farewell and left in the water to float away. For eight days the prasadam is made of Beaten rice with Sugar and Putnala pappu (Roasted Indian Black Chickpeas with hulls removed and split) and on the ninth day it is Maleedha, Pulihora and Dhaddhojanam. This year’s Bathukamma festivities started on 18th September and Saddula Bathukamma is on coming Saturday, 26th September.
An identical event called Boddemma festival precedes Bathukmma festival. Boddemma festival which is also of nine days is also to pray and honor Goddess Gauramma. The festival starts on Bhadrapada Bahula Panchami and ends on Chaturdashi. Boddemma is prayed during these nine days by making a five step conical platform with red mud and of about six inches height. Holes are provided on each step into which flowers are inserted. At the top of Boddemma, Gauramma made from Turmeric paste in the form of a cone is placed. And every evening prayer is offered to Boddemma by singing Boddemma and Bathukamma songs and dancing as in the case Bathukamma festival and prasadam distributed. On the ninth day that is Chaturdashi, Boddemma is left on the banks of any water source. The Naivedhayam and Prasadam on this day is Jaggery Kudumulu. This year’s Boddemma festival was celebrated between 9th September and 17th September.
P.S. You may read more ‘Photo and Video’-articles by me on Bathukamma Festival by clicking on the following links: