Nonalu a Hindu festival for the Goddess of power MahanKali or Kali is celebrated in Secunderabad and Hyderabad in Telangana.
Bonam means Bojanalu in Telugu or a meal in English is an offering to the Goddess. Women bring cooked rice with milk sugar sometimes onions in a brass or earthern pot adorned with small neem branches and turmeric vermilion [kumkum] or Vibjooti [ white chalk ] and a lamp on the top. Women go to the temple carrying it on their heads and offer the Bonam to the deity.
Hence the Jathara acquired the name Bonalu plural of Bonam. Some women fill the vessels with water mixed with turmeric powder and offer it to the Goddess along with the neem branches. This is called saaka.
This festival is celebrated during Ashada masam in July and August months. In Ashadam each Sunday is celebrated as Bonalu in particular regions of Hyderabad and Secunderabad twin cities.
The goddess at different temple is worshipped with different names such as Yellamma, Mysamma Pochamma Pedamma Dokkalamma Ankalamma Poleramma Maremma etc and is decorated with special illumination buntings and festoons.
Male dances called the potahrajus follow the female dancers to the temple lashing whips and emerald margosa leaves tied around their waists adding colour to the roaring trumpets and pulsating percussion.
COURTESY THE HINDU