Bathukamma is a floral festival celebrated by the Hindu women of the state of Telangana. It represents cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different seasonal flowers with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of a Gopuram. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma, the patron goddess of womanhood. This festival is celebrated as per the Telugu calendar in Bhadrapada Amavasya, usually in September–October, every year. Bathukamma is celebrated for nine days during Navrathri. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities will cross one another on ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ or ‘Pedda Bathukamma’ festival which is on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami.
The 2016 dates for this festival are September 30-October 9.
Preparations for the festival:
On first five days, women will clean their courtyard, cow dung mixed with water is spread in the courtyard as a ground-base and it is decorated with rangoli made of rice flour. For the first five days Batukamma is prepared with cow dung. Five small lumps in cone shape are arranged in the courtyard. Men in the house gather flowers from the wild plains like Celosia, Senna, Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Indian Lotus, Cucurbita leaves & flowers, Cucumis Sativus leaves & flowers, Memecylon edule, Tridax procumbens, Trachyspermum ammi, Katla, Teku Flowers, which bloom in this season in various vibrant colors all across the uncultivated and barren plains of the region.
Preparing a Bathukamma is a folk art. Women start preparing Bathukamma from the afternoon. They cut the flowers leaving the little length base, some dip Celosia flowers in various vibrant colours and arrange them on a wide plate called Thambalam spread with big leaves, and stack them up in a conical mound, filling the cone with leaves and stems of the flower stalks, decorated with a Lotus or Pumpkin Flower on top of the stack along with Gouramma (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric).
The main rituals:
1) Engili pula Bathukamma: The first day of the festival falls on Mahalaya Amavasya, also known as Pethara Amavasya in Telangana region. Food offering/Naivedyam: Nuvvulu(Sesame seeds) with biyyampindi(rice flour) or nookalu(coarsely ground wet rice).
2) Atkula Bathukamma: The second day is called Atkula bathukamma, falls on the Padyami(first day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: Sappidi pappu(Bland boiled lentils), bellam(jaggery), and atkulu (flattened parboiled rice)
3) Muddapappu Bathukamma: The third day of Bathukamma falls on Vidiya/second day of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: muddapappu (softened boiled lentils), milk and bellam(jaggery)
4) Nanabiyyam Bathukamma: The fourth day falls on thidiya/third day of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: nananesina biyyam(wet rice), milk, and bellam(jaggery)
5) Atla Bathukamma: The fifth day falls on the chathurdi/fourth day of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: uppidi pindi atlu( pan cakes made from wheatlets), or Dosa
6) Aligina Bathukamma: The sixth day falls on the panchami/fifth day of Ashwayuja masam. No food offering is made.
7) Vepakayala Bathukamma: The seventh day falls on the sashti/sixth day of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: riceflour shaped into the fruits of neem tree is deepfried.
8) Vennamuddala Bathukamma: The eight day falls on sapthami/seventh day of Ashwayuja masam. Food offering/Naivedyam: nuvvulu(sesame), Venna(Butter) or ghee(clarified butter), and bellam(jaggery)
9) Saddula Bathukamma: The ninth day of bathukamma is celebrated on ashtami/eight day of Ashwayuja masam, and coincides with Durgashtami. Food offering/Naivedyam: Five types of cooked rice dishes: perugannam saddi(curd rice), chinthapandu pulihora saddi(tamarind rice), nimmakaya saddi(lemon rice), kobbara saddi(coconut rice) and nuvvula saddi(sesame rice)
We, on behalf of South Report wish you all a prosperous festival!