My visit to Hyderabad in October 2019 was more than a mere visit to a different city. As the winter sets in, this southern Indian city situated in the State of Telangana guarantees you of a festive environment like none other.
I was fortunate to have not only witnessed the Durga Puja celebrations by the city’s Bengali community but also the floral festival called ‘Bathukamma’.
So, what is the Bathukamma?
Bathukamma is a ‘floral’ festival celebrated by women across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It usually falls during the latter half of monsoon and before the onset of winter.
During this time of the year, a wide range of flowers also bloom across the state, including Marigolds. This festivities last for at least a week.
The floral display
The floral display represents Bathukamma or the Goddess Durga. The work related to the displays commences in the morning. Befor doing so, the women bathe, chant a prayer as well as observe a fast . The fast is broken after the display has been made.
As a part of the celebration, the women place the small on the ground and perform a folk dance around the displays. These displays are eventually immersed into a pond.
Creating the ‘Bathukamma’
The flowers are carefully arranged in circular rows on a brass plate (called ‘taambalam’). The colour pattern of the display follows a unique alternative pattern. For instance, the bottom most row might consists of yellow flowers, while the second and third rows would have orange and red flowers respectively. Once the display is ready, it is placed before the family deity.