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What is in BONAM? And why it celebrates particularly in Ashadam

BONAM is offerings consist of cooked rice, jaggery, curd, water (known as Bonam) and other dishes which are brought in the pots are given to the Goddesses in the temples. It is believed that the offerings ward off evils and epidemics during monsoon. Women carry these pots on their heads and make an offering of Bonam, including Bangles and Saree to the Goddess at Temples. Every group of devotees offer a Thottelu (a small colorful, paper structure supported by sticks), as a mark of respect.

The history of the origin of this festival traces back to the 19th Century. In the year 1813, plague disease broke out in the twin cities, and this took away the lives of thousands of people. Just before this, a military battalion from Hyderabad was deployed to Ujjain. When this Hyderabad Military Battalion got to know about the epidemic in the cities, they prayed to the Mother Goddess in Mahankaal Temple Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. History tells us, that this military battalion prayed to Goddess Mahankaali, to kill plague, and if the Goddess would do so, they had decided to install an idol of Goddess Mahankaali in the city. It is believed that Mahankaali destroyed the disease and kept pestilence at arms length. Then, the military battalion returned to the city and installed an idol of the goddess, which was followed by the offering of Bonalu to her. Hence, from then, this had turned a tradition, which has been followed and is still being followed by all the people belonging to Telangana.

Other versions also include the mythological story and belief that revolves around the festival, says that this is the time when Goddess Mahakali comes back to her parental home, in Ashada Maasam or the period from late June to August, and so, this period is the most optimal time to offer Bonalu to the goddess. This can be compared to the treatment of a girl, who is married, and then returns to her birthplace, and is pampered by her parents.

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