biggest festivals of Telangana, which attracts lakhs of people from all over the State, will begin in Ujjaini Mahankali Temple in Secunderabad on July 9.

Minister for Animal Husbandry Talasani Srinivas Yadav on Wednesday reviewed the arrangements being made for the festival with officials of various departments.

City Mayor Bonthu Rammohan, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Dr B Janardhan Reddy, City Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy and other senior police and municipal officials attended the meeting.

The vibrant Bonalu festival and jathara are normally held during the month of Ashada, wherein devotes, mostly women, offer cooked rice and jaggery to Goddess Mahankali as a thanksgiving.

Though the festival kick-starts on the first Sunday of Ashadam at the Durga temple in Golconda, the two-day festival commencing in Ujjaini Mahankali temple at Secunderabad on the second Sunday of the Ashada heralds similar festivities in other Matha temples all over Secunderabad.

The festival concludes with a mammoth procession from Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaja in Old City on the third Sunday.

The Bonalu jathara traces back its origin to 1813 when the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad suffered from the epidemic of plague. Thousands of people were stated to have been affected and died due to the epidemic, which began to spread dangerously.

Then the belief originated that the epidemic was due to the curse of Mother Goddess Mahankali, as she was angered by the locals. People, then to appease the Goddess, began offering prayers and food (Bhojanalu—Bonalu).

Thus to this day, the people of Telangana celebrate this festival and express their gratitude for the well-being bestowed on them by Goddess Mahankali.

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