yellow, then white, then pink and so on.
That evening, womenfolk match up their appearance to that of their Bathukammas, wearing their best traditional attire and ornate jewellery, they place the flower stack in their courtyard. More women from the neighbourhood join in and they all circle the Bathukamma singing songs while building a beautiful human circle of unity, love and sisterhood. Before dusk falls, the ladies carry their Bathukammas on their heads and move in a procession towards the bigger water bodies in their respective towns. The procession with its vibrancy and colours is appealing to sight; while the rhythm of folk songs sung in chorus by the women in the procession, compel the body to sway in tandem. On reaching the larger water bodies, they gradually immerse the Bathukammas. After the immersion ceremony, women share a dessert made of corn bread and sugar called
Maleeda among family members and neighbours. After the entire ceremony is over, the women return home with the empty taambalam while singing in the praise of Bathukamma.
ECO-FRIENDLINESS OF THE FESTIVAL
During the entire preceding week, women make boddemma, a deity of Gowri or Devi Durga with mud along with the Bathukamma and immerse it in the nearby ponds. This helps reinforce the ponds assisting them in retaining more water. The flowers used in Bathukamma have a great quality of purifying the water in ponds and tanks as the flowers immersed in abundance are environmentally compatible.
In today’s times, when the fresh water ponds are gradually dwindling away, it is indeed a matter of pride for Telangana that its womenfolk are inherently equipped to rejuvenate them by celebrating the festival of flowers. The festival heralds the
beauty of nature, the indomitable spirit of womenfolk and also the ecological spirit of the agrarian people in preserving the natural resources through festivity.
Once upon a time, there was a king Dharmangada who belonged to the Chola dynasty and ruled over large parts of South India. He had lost his hundred sons in the war front, his wife and he then prayed and performed rituals for Goddess Lakshmi to be born as their daughter. His wife eventually gave birth to a girl child after many years of rituals and prayer; she was named Princess Lakshmi.
Lakshmi survived many unforeseen accidents during her upbringing, which harrowed her parents about their only child. Later, they renamed their daughter as Bathukamma. According to the Telugu language, Bathuku means life and Amma means mother.
Based on this mythical telling, the Bathukamma festival has been grandly celebrated by young girls across Telangana. The main purpose of this particular festival is to pray with utmost devotion to the Goddess, with a strong belief that all young girls would be blessed with beloved husbands as per their desire soon.
MYTHS ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Bathukamma festival has many myths surrounding its festivity. According to the Hindu religious scholars and pundits, one myth says that, after a fierce fight Goddess Gauri annihilated ‘Mahishasura’ the demon and went into deep sleep due to fatigue on the Aswayuja Padyami day. All the Hindu religious devotees strongly prayed with devotion and dedication for her to wake up, and then she rose on the day of Dasami.
Another telling says that Parvathi or Batakamma is an adherent lover of flowers. The seasonal flowers of spring are arranged on a square bamboo frame or square wooden plank with the size of frames that is hardly tapering off to directly form a pinnacle on the top. It resembles the shape of a temple tower or Gopuram. On top of the flowers, a lump of turmeric is placed. The worship of Goddess Batakamma is prepared with this little floral mountain.
This festival is celebrated with great joy and vivacity. During these celebrations, there are dance performances, music, dramas and a variety of entertainment as thousands of tourists and locals flock to witness the occurrings. Jataras are also held during this month long celebrations to revere the Goddess.
Women make ‘boddemma’, a deity of Gowri or Devi Durga with mud along with Bathukamma and immerse it in the pond. This helps reinforce the ponds and help them in retaining more water. The flowers used have a great quality of purifying water in ponds