Bonalu is one of the well known festivals in India and is celebrated by the people of the Hindu community. It is mostly celebrated in the Festivals of Hyderabad and Secuderabad and also some parts of Telengana. The Bonalu festival is celebrated to pay respects to Mahakali, The Mother Goddess.
During the festival of Bonalu, people offer homage to the Mother Goddess by offering cooked rice mixed with milk and sugar. The meal is stored in brass vessels or earthen-pots which are decorated with neem branches and turmeric, vermillion and white chalk. People take out processions to go to the temple and the processions are accompanied by drummers. Traditional dances are also performed in the procession.
The festival of Bonalu reached its peak during the reign of the Nizams, who took part in the event. The festival is also celebrated to honor Gangamma thalli and her brother Pothula Raju. The festive procession begins with the worship of the Golconda Mahankali inside the Golconda Fort and proceeds on to Ujjani Mahankali temple and Balkampet Yellamma temple in Secunderabad. Later the procession covers all parts of the city.
Bonalu is mainly celebrated in the period between July and August. Special pujas are performed for Yellamma during the first and last day of the festival. It is a type of a thanksgiving to the Mother Goddess for accomplishment of vows.
On the day of Bonalu, women dress themselves in traditional silk sarees and decorate themselves with traditional jewelry. Traditional dances with balancing pots are also performed to the rhythmic beats of drums to pay homage to the local goddess. Each group of devotees collectively offer a Thottela, which is small paper structure erected with sticks.