Bathukamma is a ten-day festival that begins on the closed moon day of the Telugu Bhadrapada month, which is far and wide celebrated in Telangana state. This festival just falls before the festival of Dushera or Dasara. Significantly, this festival begins soon after the ending of monsoons.
During this festival, Goddess Gauri is worshipped by the name Bathukamma. The word Bathukamma in the local Telugu language literally means “Mother Goddess, Come Alive!” This is the festival of colors and the flowers. The flowers are arranged in a conical pattern that signifies the mother goddess — and is called the Bathukamma.
In the evenings, all the women assemble at a commonplace and place the conical stacks in the center and then dance around it singing their traditional songs and clapping in harmony. The festival is filled with fun and total thrills. For the nine days, the goddess is worshipped in various ways and on various names — Bathukamma remains common as a suffix to the name; and on the tenth day of the celebrations, the goddess is immersed in the local waters with proper rituals following a ceremonial way. There is a sumptuousness associated with the festival as far as the history is concerned.
According to the historians, the festival has a similar resemblance to that of Sankranthi. Both festivals are celebrated when the yield of the crops arrive at home. It is considered as the Siri (goddess of Fortuna) coming at home. So, these days are celebrated in a festive mood mainly by the women, the representatives of Lakshmi in every home. Also, in Telangana, it has been customary that women are given much freedom. The festival of Bathukamma symbolically indicates the same with the massive gatherings to celebrate the festival with dances and songs.
According to the bioscientists, the festival denotes the collection of flowers and leaves which are rich in medicinal values. The immersion of huge quantity of the same in the water observes all these ingredients and makes the water rich with medicinal values.
Whatsoever may be the significance of the festival, the festival makes the presence of the women, who are otherwise confined to their homes, most of the times.
-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi