'''Bathukamma'' of Telugu states- festival of flowers and the goddess

HAPPY BATHUKAMMA 2023 pngtree.com/


Above image:  The Telugu community is known to celebrate womanhood by inviting goddess 'Bathukamma,' also known as Goddess Gowri, ( Gujaratis worship Durga as 'Ambe Maa') into their homes for nine days during the Navaratri. Decoration includes building  conical turmeric mounds called 'gauramma' atop the Bathukamma's flower shrines. Worshipped flowers are immersed in water bodies on the 9th day celebration coinciding with Navaratri or nine nights. Women folks breath a fresh air of freedom  to be with their parents away from in-laws home,...............................


India being a land of festivals, there are many festivals that emphasize the role of nature and seasonal changes.  Bathukamma, an annual celebration in Telangana  goes on for nine days and overlaps with the festival of Navratri. The festival is centered around  with colourful exotic flowers of the region and symbolises the collective spirit of the people of Telangana and their keen desire to live in unison with the Nature. 

This year Bathukamma celebrations are taking place from 25th of September till the 3rd of October This  Hindu vibrant flower-festival celebrated by the women of Telangana and some parts of Andhra Pradesh   begins a week before the grand ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ (the grand finale of the Bathukamma festival) which falls two days before Dussehra every year as per the Sathavahana calendar. 

A nine day celebration  starting on Pitru Amavasya, which usually coincides with the months September–October of the Gregorian calendar. The nine day  events correspond to the festivals of Sharad Navratri and Durga Puja.  Beginning on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya, the colorful 9 day festivities will culminate on "Saddula Bathukamma" or "Pedda Bathukamma." Bathukamma is followed by Boddemma, which is a 7-day festival. The Boddemma festival that comes after Bathukamma   marks the ending of Varsha Ruthu whereas Bathukamma marks the beginning of Sarad or Sharath Ruthu.

The festival falls in the later half of Monsoon  before the onset of Winter, heralding the beauty of nature in vibrant colors of multiple flowers that bloom when the monsoon season brings in plenty of rain water. It is a joyous celebration of  an extravagance of various  flowers, a riot of colour. The procession  of Bathukamma  is extremely glittering. ‘Bathukamma' in Telugu means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’. A beautiful flower stack, is arranged with different  seasonal flowers having  medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of temple  tower or gopuram.  Tradition has it the brothers bring flowers to their mother and sisters to arrange bathukamma

''Bathukamma also meant  "the festival of life" is in reality is  the celebration of femininity in this part of  Telugu desam, Women and girls  appear in traditional dress  with  jewels and other accessories highlighting traditional grace.  Women and girls in traditional dress  form a circle around Bathukamma and engage in  singing folk songs and dancing with grace  around the floral arrangement, evoking a spirit of sisterhood and fostering unity. This  floral festival symbolizes native culture that is embedded with mother nature   and is celebrated with great joy using  flowers of different hues  marking the monsoon's vibrant culmination before winter. 

 Both men and women participate in the festival. The latter craft 'Bathukammas,' immersing them in water after a week of playful celebrations, while  the former - men carefully  arrange 'gunuka' and 'tangedu' flowers, besides Banti and Samanti flowers. Monsoon's rains refill  ponds, while 'gunuka' and 'tangedu' bloom across untamed plains, with 'banti' and 'chamanti' enriching nature's tapestry

 Bathukamma' procession to water bodies is an interesting one.  Singing folk songs  it, culminates with the sharing of 'maleeda' sweets, echoing celebratory tunes throughout the week.Bathukamma  festival highlight the role of nature and encourages harmony with  Mother Nature. The government showcases the preservation of resources, and the state's role in rejuvenation of  the environment through joyful festivities that  celebrate our relationship with nature, love, life, and sisterhood.

At sun down  in the evening  women and girls dressed in colorful traditional clothes will gather around a meticulously decorated pile of flowers. While they move around, they clap  and sing melodious folklore from the bygone era. In the end after the celebration , they will immerse it in a water body.  Only songs are sung comforting mother Goddess Parvathi who is without Shiva and feels the pangs of separation.

Flowers  come from nature and decompose into nature, hence they are recycled.  However, each one of them has a distinct value to add. And there is no threat to the water bodies when bathukamma are immersed in them,  Flowers like Banthi (Marigold), Chamanthi (Chrysanthemum), Mandara (Hibiscus), Thangedu (Cassia auriculata), Gunugu (Celosia), Gummadi (Cucurbita) and others are used to make Bathukamma in a brass plate called tambala and all through nine days during Navratri, flowers of rich value add extra excitement to the festival and most of them have medicinal values  “Senna, our State Flower, has antibacterial properties and is used in various medicines. The pumpkin flowers are rich in antioxidants, Hibiscus is anti-inflammatory and Ganneru puvvu is used to treat Leprosy. All these flowers will only do good and Bathukamma in a way highlights them.” This highlights the fact that nature holds the power to heal and centuries ago our forefathers knew their values. This grand festival highlights the ecological spirit of the agrarian people in preserving the natural resources in a festive way. Human relationship with water and earth is fundamental to our progress in our society.