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A furious spell of rain on Saturday evening failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of women who turned up at the L.B. Stadium for ‘Maha Bathukamma’ to create a world record. They managed to sing and dance around a 20-foot-high Bathukamma crafted using millions of marigolds, chrysanthemums and orchids.

The L.B. Stadium wore a festive air right from the morning with flowers scattered everywhere as GHMC workers put together a tall flower arrangement with a few small ones around it and drew colourful concentric circles for the Maha Bathukamma. As groups of women dressed in festive finery started arriving by buses in the afternoon, they were assigned a number and let in through the gate to ensure easy counting of the participants.

Then the skies opened up forcing the women to seek shelter under the covered areas of the stadium. But once there was a let up in rain, the women rushed out to dance as the music system boomed “Bathkamma, bathkamma uyyalo”. And there was no stopping them.

“We have come here in two buses from Kukatpally Circle 14. We were asked by our party officials to participate here and it was easy to convince everyone as we play Bathukamma in the neighbourhood on eight days of this festival,” said Madhavi, who is part of Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

From the other end of the city in L.B. Nagar, Radhika and her group came in three buses. “We didn’t expect the rain. If it hadn’t rained, the event would have been more fun as we had difficulty in moving with the ground being wet. We would have danced for longer,” she said.

Indeed, by evening, the ground was a vast field of muck and slush with a tangle of cables over which a few women tripped.

At the end of the day, GHMC officials said 9,290 women participated in the Maha Bathukamma. “This is the official count we have given to the officials of Guinness Book of World Records. But a large number of women participated and we did not add them to this count as they entered through different gates,” said a GHMC official tabulating the information.