BATHKAMMA-The unique festival of flowers in Telangana

The months of September and October are the most festive months for Telaganaites. There are two major festivals celebrated during these months and at least 15 days before and after filled with the aura of great festivity and happy moods of family reunions. One of the festivals is Bathukamma and the other is Dusshera (known as Vijaya dashami and Dusshera etc, this is a popular festival across the nation ).


Gallery

event image1 event image2 event image3 event image4 event image5 event image6


However, Batukamma is unique to Telangana region and it is undoubtedly an icon of cultural identity for Telanganites. This festival is not celebrated else where, though there are some known instances of festivals celebrated in association with water and flowers, none of them resemble this one.

Batukamma comes during the latter half of monsoon, much before the onset of winter. The monsoon rains would have brought plenty of water into the ‘cheruvulu’ (fresh water ponds that are a major source of irrigation through out Telangana) and the wild flowers bloom in various vibrant colors all across the uncultivated and barren plains of the region. The most abundant of these are the ‘gunuka poolu’ and ‘tangedi poolu’. There are other flowers too like the banti, chemanti, nandi-vardhanam etc. The ‘shilpakka pandlu’ (or ‘sitpala pandlu’) are another great attraction of these barren lands during this season. This custard apple (‘seeta phalamu’ in text book language) is a great tasting fruit that grows in the wild with little or no water and is often called the poor man’s apple. Then there is corn (jonna and mokka jonna) waiting to be harvested. Amidst these, Batukamma is celebrated by the women folk of Telangana, heralding the beauty of nature in vibrant colors of multitudinous flowers.

The festival begins a week before the grand ‘saddula Batukamma’ (the grand finale of the Batukamma festival) which is two days before Dassera. The women folk normally get back to their parents’ homes from their in-laws and breathe the fresh air of freedom to celebrate the colors of flowers. For one whole week they make small ‘Batukammas’, play around them every evening and immerse them in a near by water pond. Then the last day is the most fascinating. On that day the men folk of the house go into the wild plains and gather the flowers like gunuka and tangedi. They bring home bagfuls of these flowers and the entire house hold sits down to make the big ‘Batukamma’. The flowers are carefully arranged row after row in a brass plate (called taambalam) in circular rows and in alternate colors. The Batukamma grows in size and the bigger it is the better. The white gunuka flowers are colored using water paints and Batukamma gets colorful circular layers of them along with tangedi in between. Then it placed in front of the deity of the home and prayed.

As evening approaches the womenfolk dress colorfully with the best of their attire and put on lot of ornaments and place the Batukamma in their ‘vaakili’ (court yard). The women of neighborhood also join with their own “Batukammalu” and all of them gather in a large circle around it. They sing songs by going around it building a beautiful human circle of unity, love, sisterhood. They all sing in chorus after a lead singer starts off and the rhythms of the folklore songs reverberate in the neighborhood sounding the uniqueness of Telangana cultural identity.

After playing around the “Batukammalu”, before the onset of dusk, the women folk carry them on their heads and go as a procession towards a bigger water lake of the village or town. The procession is extremely colorful with the decorations of women and the “Batukammalu”. Songs of folklore are sung in chorus throughout the procession and the streets resonate with them. Finally when they reach the water pond the “Batukammalu” are slowly immersed into water after some more playing and singing. Then they share the ‘maleeda’ (a dessert made with sugar or raw sugar and corn bread) sweets amongst the family members and neighborhood folks. They return back to their homes with empty ‘taambaalam’ singing songs in praise of Batukamma. The songs of Batukamma echo in the streets until late night during thie entire week.

Why is Batukamma celebrated? There are several legends around it. One of the prominent is that of a girl who committed suicide due to atrocities of a feudal land lord and then she was blessed by the people of the village to live longer a happier life (Batukamma means live). The other one is also about a girl who ends her life but due to family disturbances. However it is a festival associated with womenfolk and them remembering the girl who ended her life. They pray to mother goddess Gowri that they should not face any difficulties and that their husbands live longer and their families be prosperous.

On the hand, Batukamma is a great celebration of preservation of nature’s harmony. It is the season of blooming flowers and overflowing water ponds, that Batukamma comes in and it celebrates the inherent relationship between earth, water and the human beings. During the whole preceding week, women make ‘boddemma’ (a deity of Gowri – mother Durga – made with earthly mud) along with Batukamma and immerse it in the pond. This helps reinforce the ponds and helps it retain more water. The flowers used in Batukamma have a great quality of purifying water (and one of them is now being heralded as a medicine to cancer) and such flowers when immersed in abundance into the pond have the effect of cleansing the water and making the environment much better. In times where the fresh water ponds are gradually diminishing and dwindling away it is indeed a pride of Telangana that its womenfolk (with mostly agrarian background) inherently know how to make them better by celebrating the beauty of nature. It is something we need to be indeed proud of.

Even across the world such festivals that involve flowers and fresh water are a rarity. There are river-based festivals known, but this one is definitely unique to Telangana. It serves multiple purposes– it heralds the beauty of nature, collective spirit of Telangana people, the indomitable spirit of women folks and also the scientific approach of the agrarian people towards preserving the resources of nature in a celebrative way. That’s why Batukamma is the icon of cultural identity of Telangana!

Go Home | Top

 Sponsors

U.B. Singh/Dan Johnson
SMART ACCOUNTING & TAX SOLUTIONS
38930 Blacow Rd,Ste.#C
Fremont,CA-94536
ph:(510)742-8400


Sankranthi Indian Cuisine
727 S WOLFE RD
Sunnyvale, CA, US, 94086
408 677 1301


Chandrakala(Chandu) Siramdas
REALTY EXPERTS(Realtor)
Ph# (510)396-6366,



Mohan Chalagalla
Realtor (Realty Experts)
www.ListWithMohan.com
Mohan.Chalagalla@gmail.com
Ph# 510-304-5442



San Ramon Family Dental
3160 Crow Canyon Rd, Suite #215, San Ramon, CA 94583
(P) 925-866-8422
(F) 925-866-8433



SRC consulting (Shankar Chowhan)
39465 Paseo Padre, Suite 1100
Fremont, CA 94538
Ph# 510 252 0625



Paradise Biryani Point
925-364-7086 - Dublin
510-598-4940 - Fremont
408-564-7876 - Santa Clara



Jamie Man Chan
Realtor
Ateev Inc, BRE# 01427713
Ph# 510-579-7767
Company NMLS # 146964



SiliconAndhra Manabadi
1-844-626-BADI(2234)
manabadi@siliconandhra.org



SoftClouds
16855 West Bernardo Drive #300, San Diego - CA 92127
858-432-7220


Trinethra Indian Supermarket
812 W El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Ph:(408) 900-8907


Biryaniz
https://www.biryaniz.com/
(408) 945-5700

Biryani Pot
39277 Cedar Blvd Newark, CA 94560
510-745 9870


Telangana Ruchulu
131 Ranch Dr, Milpitas, CA (Coming Soon )
972-693-6138


Hyderabadi Biryani House
2217 D San Ramon Valley Blvd
San Ramon, CA 94583
925-838-9090



Peacock Restaurants

www.peacockrestaurants.com
Bay Area, CA
408-528-9422


Gulukul
1010 Beethoven common, CA


Purple Archie
1010 Beethoven common>
Fremont, California, CA 94538

508-596-7884

Shri Fashions
46265 woodview common

Fremont, California, CA 94539/a>
510-679-4669

Usha & Narasimha Farmers Insurance Agent
Palo Alto, CA 94303
nbetini@farmersagent.com
(408) 689-0539

International Technological University
San Jose, CA

Kitchen Of Kuchipudi
Santa Clara, CA
(669) 242-7995
www.kokelitesantaclara.com/

SWAGAT-Milpitas
68 S Abel St, Milpitas, CA 95035
408-262-1128
Ph:408-689-2590

The Royal Fashions (Stall will be at location)
Cupertino, California
monaanilusa@yahoo.com

Arpita
Sahiti Collections ( Fashion Jewelry)

arpithakiran2002@yahoo.com
(408)930-5730


RangaPriya Purohit
Keller Williams Realty - Cupertino
19400 Stevens Creek Blvd., Ste #200
CUPERTINO, CA 95129
(408)826-7467


HanumaVega Courier Services
404-468-8711