Hyderabad: The annual ‘Lashkar’ Bonalu festivities at the historic Sri Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad began on a colourful note here on Sunday.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao visited the temple around noon and carrying ‘pattu vastralu’, offered prayers at the temple. The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by Endowments Minister A Indrakaran Reddy and Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav, was accorded traditional welcome by temple priests.
Rao then offered prayers at Sri Muthyalamma temple at Takkara Basthi in Monda Market and then visited the house of Deputy Speaker T Padma Rao Goud.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and several other dignitaries also offered prayers at Ujjaini Mahankali temple.
Women clad in ‘pattu’ saris lined up at the temple from early hours to offer ‘bonam’, which is made up of cooked rice laced with curd and jaggery in earthen pots decorated with turmeric and vermilion and neem leaves, to Goddess Mahankali.
For the convenience of women carrying ‘bonam’, the temple administration arranged a separate queue. Thousands of devotees stood in long queues from Anjali Talkies from RP Road side and Old Ramgopalpet police station on MG Road.
Devotees had to wait for more than an hour to have darshan of the Goddess due to heavy rush at the temple. Family members of Srinivas Yadav offered the first ‘bonam’ to the deity at 3.30 am. Later, TRS leader and former MP K Kavitha carrying ‘bonam’ took part in a Shoba Yatra, along with the family members of Srinivas Yadav, in the afternoon.
The lanes and by-lanes in Secunderabad and its surroundings wore a festive look with the temples of Goddess Sri Mahankali, Sri Peddamma, Sri Nalla Pochamma, Sri Yellamma, Sri Muthyalamma and Sri Maisamma decorated with flowers and illuminated with colourful LED lights.
The festival concludes after the performance of ‘Rangam’ or Oracle foretelling the year ahead on Monday morning. After ‘Rangam’, a procession with a portrait of the deity atop caparisoned elephant will be organised marking the conclusion of the festival.