Bathukamma is a festival celebrated by the Hindu Women of the Telangana State, India. The festival is also known as the panduga festival.
Every year this festival falls in September October and as per lunar calendar in the Bhadrapada Amavasya, also known as Mahalaya Amavasya.This festival is celebrated during Durga Navratri. The festivity is held for 9 days and concludes just two days before Dussehra (Vijaya Dashmi).
In Telugu, 'Bathukamma' means "Mother Goddess Come Alive" and Goddess Maha Gauri is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma.The people seek the blessings of the goddess for the coming year and thank the goddess for the gone year. The festivals can be called the festival of colors and the flowers. The women decorate a small wooden platform with colours and then the variety of the flowers as the Gunuka, Tangedi, Lotus, Alli, Katla, Teku, the gourd flower etc are arranged in a circular fashion in layers to make a conical arrangement of the flowers. The conical arrangement of the flowers signifies the mother goddess and is called the Bathukamma.
The women folk are seen dressed colorfully with the best of their attire. They prefer wearing traditional Silk Sarees, with flowers on their hair and wear their best jewelry. The young girls from the region also accompany the women and come out wearing Langa-Oni (Half-Saree) which is the traditional attire of young girls of the Telangana region.The young unmarried women pray to the goddess to bring them prosperity and a good husband.
Women take their Bathukamma and gather in large number near a pound or lake or a temple. They form a circle with Bathukamma's in the centre of the circle. They sing songs with clapping hands by going around it. The songs usually bear the wonderful stories related to the women, the social conditions, the economic conditions in the region, etc. The women of the region know the songs by heart and are seen to sing simultaneously and without beforehand practice.
After playing around the Batukammalu, before the dusk, the women folk carry them on their heads and go as a procession towards the water pond or lake and set afloat in the evening.
The Legends or Kathas Behind Bathukammma:
Bathukamma festival has many stories behind its festivity.
The celebration is mentioned in the various Telegu literatures that date it back to the King Dharmangada and a queen named Satyavati of Chola Dynasty who prayed and performed ritual to Goddesses Lakshmi to be born as their daughter. The Goddesses heard it and immediately obliged them. On her birth, many pundits visited the baby at the royal palace and blessed her by calling Bathukamma or live forever.
The other version of Bathukamma is that Goddess Gauri, after a fierce fight killed 'Mahishasura' the demon. After this serious act, she 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. It is to be noted that she woke up on the Dasami day.
Bathukamma, according to one legend, is a lover of flowers. Flowers are arranged on a square wooden plank or a square bamboo frame with the size of frames tapering off to form a pinnacle on top. They resemble the shape of a temple 'Gopura'. Guramma (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric) is placed on top of the flowers. This little floral mountain is worshipped as Goddess Bathukamma.