Bonalu is a Telangana traditional Hindu festival centered on the Goddess Mahakali. This festival is celebrated annually in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, as well as in other parts of the state.
It is celebrated in the month of Ashada Masam, which is around July and/or August. Special “poojas” (worship/ ceremonies) are performed for Yellamma (one of the many regional forms of Mahakali) on the first and last day of the festival. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfillment of vows.
The word Bonam is a contraction of the word Bhojanam, a Sanskrit loanword which means a meal or a feast in Telugu. It is an offering to the Mother Goddess. Women prepare rice cooked with milk and jaggery in a new brass or earthen pot adorned with neem leaves, turmeric, vermilion and a lit lamp on top of the pot. Women carry the pots on their heads and make an offering of the Bonam along with turmeric-vermilion, bangles and sari to the Mother Goddess across the temples.
Bonalu involves the worship of Mother Goddess in regional forms like Maisamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Peddhamma, Dokkalamma, Ankalamma, Poleramma, Maremma, Nookalamma.