I recently received an encouraging email from a follower of my blog requesting me to ask my wife to reply to her on the procedure to arrange Bathukamma. My wife sent the following procedure to her this morning and I am posting it to my blog with the hope that few others would be benefitted by this information.
PROCEDURE TO ARRANGE BATHUKAMMA:
To understand clearly the procedure of arranging Bathukamma, please refer to the above figure constantly. I have explained ‘Bathukamma Paerchadam’ (arranging of Bathukamma) as per the procedure we have been following in our family since generations. If any of the flowers specifically mentioned below; like ‘Gummadi Puvvu’ (Pumpkin flower), ‘Thangedu’ and ‘Gunugu Puvvulu’ (flowers) and ‘Gummadi Aakulu’ (leaves of a Pumpkin plant) are not available; you may arrange Bathukamma with whichever flowers you can procure.
1) Depending on the size of Bathukamma you want to arrange, you will have to procure suitable quantity and types of flowers.
2) Pick up a suitable round steel or a brass plate with a small edge. The Bathukamma in the above picture is arranged on a 12 inch plate. For first attempt, you can arrange Bathukamma on an 8 inch plate or even a smaller one.
3) Lay two pieces of thread on the plate perpendicular to one another and passing over the centre of the plate. These threads should be long enough, so that after arranging the entire Bathukamma in a conical pattern, these threads are drawn upwards and tied at the top to hold the Bathukamma intact.
4) Over the plate and the threads; place a ‘Vistharaku’ (a plate made out of leaves). And trim the edges of the ‘Vistharaku’ to match the circular base of the metal plate.
5) Spread a thin layer of Pumpkin leaves over the ‘Vistharaku’.
6) Arrange one layer of ‘Thangedu Puvvulu’ (Thangedu flowers). These tiny yellow flowers with green buds and leaves and long stems are available at the time of Bathukamma festival.
7) The next layer of flowers is with ‘Gunugu Puvvulu’. ‘Gunugu’ flowers with long stems running almost up to the centre of the plate are now arranged radially. You can arrange the row of ‘Gunugu’ flowers to any reasonable width taking care that the layer is gradually tapering to finally give a conical shape to Bathukamma. The protruding parts of the ‘Gunugu Puvvulu’ can be trimmed.
8) The hollow that is forming at the centre as you are radially arranging the flowers can be filled with Pumpkin leaves, or any other leaves or loose flowers.
9) Subsequent top layers / rows may be arranged with any colourful flowers like yellow and orange ‘Banthi Puvvulu’ (Marigold flowers), ‘Chamanthi Puvvulu’ (Chrysanthemum flowers) and any other colourful flowers and even with some artificially coloured flowers specially made available for Bathukamma festival. If the flowers do not have stems or the stems are not strong enough, pieces of broom sticks are inserted into the flowers to act as stems and help in arranging and holding the flowers together.
10) At the very top, a Pumpkin flower is placed.
11) Finally the loose ends of the two threads placed over the bottom plate and under the ‘Vistharaku’ are drawn up and tied at the top to hold the ‘Vistharaku’ and the flowers arranged over it (Bathukamma) in position.
Towards the end of Bathukamma celebrations, Bathukamma is given a traditional farewell (‘Saaganampadam’) by placing Bathukamma over a water body – a river or lake. Bathukamma is placed over the surface of water and the plate on which it is arranged is cautiously taken out. Our colourful Bathukamma now standing on the ‘Vistharaku’ can be seen graciously floating. Watching hundreds of families dressed in their best attire and happily playing colourful Bathukammas of different sizes along the shore and then seeing countless Bathukammas floating and dancing with the waves in the lake or river is a very grand and happy sight, beyond my description.
P.S. You may read more Photo and Video-articles by me on Bathukamma Festival by clicking on the following links.Bathukamma Shubakankshalu!- 2014.