Bangaru Bonam tours 7 Mahankali temples in city

The golden bonam also traveled to Austin, Texas, the United States of America.

Bangaru Bonam tours 7 Mahankali temples in city

HYDERABAD: All that glitters, they say, is noty gold. But this one, for sure, is essentially made up of gold. It ain't a ring or a chain. It's a golden pot that carries the 'naivedyam' to the Goddess Mahankali, in whose name the "Mahankali Bonalu" are celebrated across the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

A bonam, usually a brass or new earthen pot, is made with over three kg of gold, costing over Rs 1.5 crores (at the current market value), for offering at Mahankali Temple in Hyderabad's Mir Alam Mandi.

Gajula Anjaiah, the head of Mir Alam Mandi's Mahankali temple went all out and got the 'Bangaru Bonam' made for the presiding deity of the temple in 2018. What triggered the thought of having a golden bonam made? The reason behind this, he claimed, was a divine message by the Goddess herself. He said that he was deeply connected to the goddess and could "feel her presence".

The 'Bangaru Bonam' is taken out every year during the festival and presented to seven goddesses at seven different places, what they call 'Saptha Bonalu'. Apart from the Bonam, Gajula Anjaiah also presents sarees and other offerings.

The "naivedyam" in the Bangaru Bonam is offered to Goddess Jagadamba at Golconda, Goddess Yellamma at Balkampet, Goddess Kanaka Durga at Vijayawada, Goddess Peddammathalli at Jubilee Hills, Goddess Ujjaini Mahankali at Secunderabad, Goddess Bhagyalakshmi at Charminar and Goddess Mahankali at Lal Darwaza.

The golden bonam also traveled to Austin, Texas, the United States of America.

Gajula Anjaiah funded the Bangaru Bonam, the temple's renovation and maintenance, from his personal resources. He said that it is his 'bhakti' for the goddess which inspires him to take huge steps for the temple.

In 2015, he said that the Goddess sent him a thought of renovating the small temple into a big one. According to him, the huge temple was built in just 126 days because of the "Goddess's will."

What is a 'Bonam' and why is Bonalu celebrated:

A pot which is decorated with turmeric and neem leaves, in which women cook rice with milk and jaggery to offer to the deity, is called a Bonam.

Bonalu is an annual festival celebrated in July/August by the denizens of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Devotees worship Goddess Mahankali who, they believe, would protect them from any seasonal diseases.

The legend has it that the festival dates back to the 19th century, when the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad experienced the outbreak of a deadly plague. After the plague had claimed the lives of many, a military battalion from the State deployed in Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), prayed to Goddess Mahankali.

They also vowed to build a temple in Secunderabad to the deity, if the plague ended. When the plague finally stopped, they built a temple to fulfill their vow to the Goddess. To please the goddess, they offered a Bonam, which later became a tradition. It is also believed that turmeric and neem have medicinal properties and they keep diseases away. Hence, the use of the turmeric coat and neem leaves around to adorn the Bonam.

Bonam means bhojanam. Bonam consists of rice, milk, jaggery, green leafy vegetables and over the years, many other things also were added to the stuff inside the pot. Then it is cooked and offered as 'naivedyam' to Sri Mahankali.

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