Bonalu is one of the Hindu festival celebrated in the name of Goddess Mahankali. This festival is celebrated mostly in Hyderabad specially in parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema.
Bonalu started in the18th century because of the plague disease that has broke out in Hyderabad claiming for lives of thousands of people. There was a belief in people that this disease is because of the anger of Mother Goddess Mahankali. So people celebrate this festival to offer Bonalu for Goddess Mahankali.
Bonalu festival comes in every Ashadam Masam usually in July/August month. Bonalu will begin in Golconda and later in different parts of city. This festival is celebrated with the rhythmic beats of drums and people will dance with that beats.
During Bonalu festival women brings cooked rice with milk, sugar and sometimes onions. They even bring turmeric water in a pot, place some neem leaves over it, and even a lamp on the top. These pots are placed over the forehead of the women and visit temples.
People will celebrate this festival with all their family members and Guests. The environment during this festival will be entirely different when compared with all other festivals. This festival is celebrated with loud speakers playing Mahankali Goddess songs. They play mostly folk Songs.
During Bonalu festival a person known as Potharaju wears a small tightly draped red dhoti , bells on his ankles, turmeric that will be smeared on his body, and a vermilion on his forehead, who accompanies with the dance while visiting the temple. During bonalu festival Rangam is carried on, Rangam is about forecasting the future which is held in the morning, the next day of festival. The women will spell the future which is ahead during the year.The conclusion of this festival is Ghatam which is held after Rangam.