Mega Event at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall on October 23, 2020 (5 pm)
Auckland, October 16, 2020
‘Bangaru Bathukamma,’ the most traditional event of the South Indian State of Telangana will be celebrated for nine nights in Auckland, starting tonight (October 16, 2020).
Telangana Jagurthi New Zealand (TJNZ), which is organising the festivities, will conduct the ‘Mega Event’ of ‘Bangaru Bathukamma’ on Friday, October 23, 2020 at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, located at 489 Dominion Road, Auckland. The festivities will commence at 630 pm and conclude at 10 pm.
TJNZ President Aruna Jyothi Muddam said that the Bathukamma Festival will be the first event with the physical presence of people after the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Bangaru Bathukamma is one of the largest and most revered events conducted in Telangana. Known as ‘Maha Bathukamma,’ entailing the worship of ‘Goddess Bathukamma,’ an image of Goddess Gauri or Goddess Durga, this is a Festival of Flowers marked primarily by women praying and rejoicing for the welfare of their husbands, children, families, neighbours, communities, the country and the world,” she said.
Ms Muddam said that Kalvakuntla Kavitha, Former Member of Lok Sabha (India’s Lower House of Parliament), who won a seat in the Telangana Legislative Council with a whopping majority earlier this week (October 12, 2020), initiated the Festival a few years ago.
“This is a great initiative which has won the attention and participation of women in ‘Maha Bathukamma’ and promote the culture and tradition of Telangana,” she said.
Kavitha was the first woman Parliamentarian of the State. A qualified software engineer, she was employed in the United States of America and returned home in 2004. She is the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and was involved in the Telangana Movement.
She has a large following in her home State and among the Telugu-speaking people worldwide.
About the Festival of Flowers
Women of Telangana mark the ‘Maha Bathukamma,’ denoting the arrival of ‘The Mother Goddess,’ during Navaratri (‘Nine Nights)’ which occurs during September-October every year. The Festival incorporates ‘Bathukamma Panduga,’ the second most important observance after ‘Vijaya Dashami,’ or the last day of Dassera.
Representing the cultural spirit of Telangana, ‘Bathukamma’ is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers, most of them with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of Temple Gopuram (Tower).
‘Bathukamma’ commences on ‘Mahalaya Amavasya,’ culminating on the ninth day with ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ or ‘Pedda Bathukamma’ (‘Ashwayuja Ashtami,’ popularly known as ‘Durgashtami’).
Guinness Record Event
Four years ago, on October 8, 2016, ‘Bathukamma’ entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having achieved the participation of 9292 women gathered around a 20-feet high stack of flowers arranged in concentric layers. Millions of people visited the Lal Bahadur (LB) Shastri Stadium where the Festival was held. Celosia, Cassia, Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Luffa, Pumpkin plants flowers and other flowers are used in this Festival.
The Festival was organised by the Telangana Tourism Department in association with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
As well as being a religious festival, ‘Bathukamma’ lifts the spirit of the community to a state of solidarity and social harmony. The rituals and symbolisms of the Festival enshrine the ethos of gender equality and mutual respect and a harmonious balance of all castes and social groups.
During Bathukamma Navaratri, men and boys of households would pick flowers or purchase them, to be placed in decorative formats by women. Families invite their daughters who are usually away as married or working women to their homes to participate in the Festival.
Vivacity at Sunset
The vivacity of the celebrations peaks as sunset approaches. Women, in their traditional attire, will carry their Bathukamma to the streets, place them at a public place such as a playground or a park and decorate them as they sing and dance.
The songs would reflect the history, heritage, traditions of the land handed down from generation to generation, each generation adding its own flavour to produce a synthesis between the ancient and the zeitgeist (spirit of times).
Hours later, the Bathukamma would be carried to the nearest pond, canal or river and immersed, symbolising a full circle of life, seasons and times.