|Also called||Festival of Flowers|
|Observed by||Hindu Women of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Type||Spring Festival of Goddess Gauri|
Bathukamma (Telugu: బతుకమ్మ) is a festival or panduga celebrated by the Hindu Women of the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh, India. Every year this festival falls in September–October and as per lunar calendar in the Bhadrapada Amavasya, also known as Mahalaya Amavasya. Bathukamma is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities will culminate on "Saddula Bathukamma" or "Pedda Bathukamma" festival on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days before Dussehra. Bathukamma is followed by Boddemma, which is a 7-day festival. Boddemma festival that marks the ending of Varsha Ruthu whereas Bathukamma festival indicates the beginning of Sarad Ruthu or Sharath Ruthu
Bathukamma represents cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers most of them with medicinal value, in seven concentric layers in the shape of potter’s clay like a cone. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma' means ‘Mother Goddess Come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron goddess of womanhood (Maha Gauri Devi)
It is the festival for feminine felicitation. On this special occasion women dress up in the traditional sari combining it with jewels and other accessories. Teenage Girls wear Langa-Oni/Half-Sarees/Lehenga Choli combining it with jewels in order to bring out the traditional grace of the attire.
On First five days women will clean their vakili (Courtyard), cow dung mixed with water is spread in front of the doorstep or courtyard as a ground-base, decorate the yard with ManagalAkara or Muggu Patterns or Rangoli made with Rice Flour. For the first five days Batukamma is prepared with cow dung. Five small lumps in cone shape are arranged in the Vakili.
Men in the house gather flowers from the wild plains like గునుగు (Celosia), తంగెడు (Senna auriculata), బంతి (Tagetes), చామంతి (Chrysanthemum), తామెర పువ్వు(Nelumbo nucifera), గుమ్మడి ఆకులు & పువ్వులు (Cucurbita), దోస ఆకులు & పువ్వులు (Cucumis Sativus), అల్లి (Memecylon edule), గడ్డి పువ్వు(Tridax procumbens), వామ పువ్వు (Trachyspermum ammi), Katla, Teku Flowers, which bloom in this season in various vibrant colors all across the uncultivated and barren plains of the region.
Preparing a Bathukamma is a folk art. Women start preparing Bathukamma from the afternoon. They cut the flowers leaving the little length base, some dip Gunugu (Celosia) flowers in various vibrant colours, some scented and arrange them on a wide plate called Thambalam, and stack them up in a conical mound, decorated with a Lotus or Pumpkin Flower on top of the stack along with Guramma (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric).
In the evening, women gather in large numbers with their Bathukammas in open areas of their locality, all women will form a circle around the Bathukamma and all women start singing folk songs by clapping their hands and revolving around the Bathukamma, synchronizing steps and claps in unison provide a splendorous look to the festivities. Women seek good health, prosperity and happiness for their families. The songs are to invoke the blessings of various goddesses. By principle, the rendition end with any one of the following three tributes Uyyaala - ఉయ్యాల, Chandamama - చందమామ or Gouramma - గౌరమ్మ.
This festival is celebrated for nine days and concludes on Durgastami. The last day of the festival is called Saddula Bathukamma. On this final day immersion of Bathukamma (Bathukamma Visarjan) in water bodies is celebrated with utmost devotion and enthusiasm with rhythmic drum beats through out Telangana region. The evening offers a beautiful, calming and a peaceful visual treat. Guramma (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric) is taken back from Bathukamma before immersion and every married woman applies a paste of this, on her Mangala sutra that marks the solemnization of her marriage and also her husband is protected from all evils and ill fate.
For 9 days of festival each day a Nivedyam or a special dish is prepared and offered to the goddess. Generally ingredients of the dishes are Corn (మొక్క జొన్నలు), Sorghum (జొన్నలు), Bajra (సజ్జలు), Black Gram (మినుములు), Bengal Gram (శనగలు), Green Gram (పెసర్లు), Ground Nuts (పల్లి), Sesame (నువ్వులు), Wheat (గోధుమలు), Rice (బియ్యము), Cashew Nut (జీడిపప్పు), Jaggery (బెల్లం), Milk (పాలు) etc. Maleeda - a combination of Roti and Jaggery, is prepared on this day and distributed at the end of the event.
Once upon a time king Dharmangada of Chola Dynasty used to rule South India. After many prayers and rituals, his wife gave birth to Goddess Lakshmi. Baby Lakshmi survived many accidents. So, the parents named her Bathukamma (Bathuku = Life, Amma = Mother). Since then Bathukamma festival is celebrated by young girls in Telangana. The purpose of this festival is to pray to the Goddess in the belief that the young girls would get husbands as per their wish, to teach the young girls how to take care of her in-laws, her husband, be a great women who respects elders, loves the people around and a women to respect her elders, be a guide to the younger ones of her. Further, married women celebrate the festival to pray to the Goddess for good health and prosperity of their family.
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Bathukamma means ‘come back to life mother’ and it is a asking for Goddess Sati to return back. Legend has it that Sati returned as Goddess Parvati and therefore the festival is also dedicated to Goddess Parvati.
There are many myths behind this festival. According to one myth Goddess Gauri killed 'Mahishasura' the demon after a fierce fight. After this act, she went to sleep on the 'Aswayuja Padyami', due to fatigue. The devotees prayed to her to wake up, and she woke up on the Dasami (also spelt as "Dashmi day")
The other being Bathukamma, as the daughter of the 'Chola' King 'Dharmangada' and 'Satyavati'. The king and queen lost their 100 sons in the battlefield and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi to be born in their house, as their child. Goddess Lakshmi heard their sincere prayers and chose to oblige them. When Lakshmi was born in the royal palace, all the sages came to bless her and they blessed her with immortality "Bathukamma or Live Forever".
Bathukamma or 'Shakthi', 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.
This festival is celebrated with joy and gaiety. During these celebrations, there are dance performances, music, dramas and a variety of entertainments as thousands of tourists and locals too, flock to witness the happenings. 'Jataras' are also held during this month long celebrations.
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5. Grand finale to Bathukamma (http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/19/stories/2007101958130300.htm), The Hindu, 19 October 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
Reference Book, Bathukamma Panduga Patalu Mariyu Sampradhayalu by Thatikonda Vishnu Murthy, Akunoor, Warangal Dist., AP.
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