Bonalu is another folk festival, which is
very famous in the Telangana region. The word "Bonalu" is
derived from "Bhojanalu" meaning food, which is offered to the
Goddess. This century old tradition is celebrated with utmost gaiety and
devotional fervour. It is celebrated during the month of 'Ashadh'. This
one-month long festival is marked by devotional singing and ritualistic
worship to the village deities "Yellamma", "Mahankali",
"Maisamma", "Pochamma", and "Gundamma".
A typical feature of the Bonalu festival are the `Ghatams' or decorated pots filled with flowers, which are carried on the heads by the women folk in a procession. Cooked rice is also taken in highly polished brass vessels or in clay pots decorated with neem leaves, which are carried by women on their heads to the local goddess while the men accompany by playing drums.
Women colourfully dressed dance balancing pots to the rhythmic beats and tunes in praise of the village deity Mahankali. Male dancers called the "Potharajus' follow the female dancers, who is believed to be the protector of the village.
It is celebrated with aplomb in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. During this festival, Sree Jagadambika temple atop the Golconda Fort draws large number of devotees from neighbouring districts. Muslim emperors also celebrated this festival by offering prayers in this temple such was the popularity of this festival. The State government also performs puja officially, on behalf of the people. Thus, Bonalu is a festival of offering and families share the offering among their members.