Bathukamma is a popular, unique, colorful and vibrant festival of Telangana. This festival plays a vital role in the culture and tradition of Telangana. The festival is celebrated for nine days.
According to the Telugu language, `Bathuku’ means `life’ and `Amma’ means `mother’. Hence, Bathukamma means “come back to life Mother Goddess”. There are many legends beyond the celebration of Bathukamma. One such legend is, Daksha performed a Yagna and invited everyone but his youngest daughter, Gauri, who married to Lord Shiva against his wish. In spite of Shiva’s will, Gauri went to Yagna and insulted along with Lord Shiva. She was unable to tolerate the insult and sacrificed her life by setting herself ablaze. Wishing to bring her back, women present her flowers and make turmeric idol of the Goddess and sing and dance around the idol of Bathukamma.
The idol of the Goddess Bathukamma during the festival is made using flowers. The murti of Bathukamma is immersed in water on the final day of the festival. On that day women take oil bath and offer garelu (a kind of black gram puddings) and green gram to `Gowri Devi’ as ‘naivedyam’ in some areas of Telangana region.
During the Bathukamma festival girls and women arrange flowers on a big plate in vertical format – like a cone with a flat top. Circular rows of different varieties of flowers available during the season are placed on top of one row. The number of rows varies from region to region. The Goddess is decorated with five, nine or eleven different kinds of flowers which are placed in layers in a conical form and a turmeric cone is placed which signifies the Mother Goddess and is called the Goddess Bathukamma.
On this festival unmarried young girls pray with devotion to the Goddess to get beloved husbands as per their desire and wish soon. Married women celebrate this festival to pray to the Goddess for prosperity and good health of their family. On the ninth day muttaiduvulu (married women) sing songs on the Goddess and offer `naivedyam’ of Pulihora (cooked white rice mixed with salt, chilies, lime or tamarind and turmeric powder), `Daddojanam’ (curd rice) and `Chalimidhi Mudhalu’ (laddo prepared with roti, jiggery, coconut and dry fruits). They carry ‘Bathukamma’ in plates to ‘Ammavaru’ temple and place them near the Goddess along with turmeric balls. After worshipping they smear their ‘Mangala Sutram’ with ‘Pasuppu’ (turmeric powder). They take flowers from the Goddess and decorate their heads with them.
Women and girls assemble at a common place and place the Bathukamma (conical stacks) in the centre and then dance around it singing their traditional songs and clapping in unison after which they immerse Bathukammas in the water.
Bathukamma festival gives the importance of the relationship between human beings. The festival shows the relation of Earth, Water and Humans.
Some of the Bathukamma Naivedyam recipes are: