Bathukamma festival is also known as Bodemma. This festival is celebrated in the months of September - October. It is celebrated for nine days during Navaratri
. This festival starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya. It ends two days before Dussehra
known as Durgashtami. On the final day Bathukamma panduga is celebrated as a great festival - Pedda Bathukamma or Saddula Bathukamma.
Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack that is arranged with seasonal flowers, in seven concentric layers like a cone. The word Bathuku in Telugu means life and Amma means mother. Women celebrate the festival dressed-up in traditional silk saris.
On this day, the men go to the wild plains in order to gather flowers like gunuka, tangedi, lotus, alli, katla and teku, which bloom in this season in various vibrant colours. Women start the preparation from the afternoon. They cut the flowers leaving the little length base and arrange them on a wide plate known as tambalamu and stack them in a conical mound decorated with a pumpkin flower on top of the stack.
Rituals of Bathukamma
Women gather in the evening with their bathukammas and place them in the middle. The women dance around them. They sing folk songs. After singing and dancing Bathukammas are taken to a lake and are set afloat in the water.
Myths of Bathukamma
King Dharmangada of Chola Dynasty used to rule South India. After several prayers his wife gave birth to Princess Lakshmi. She survived many accidents. Thus her parents named her Bathukamma. Since then this festival is celebrated by young girls in Telangana region. The purpose is to get husbands as per their wish. Married women celebrate pray for good health and prosperity of their family.
There are many myths surrounding this festival. According to a myth Goddess Gauri killed `Mahishasura
` the demon. Thereafter she went to sleep on the `Aswayuja Padyami` day as she was tired. The devotees prayed to wake up and she woke up on the Dasami.
Chola King Dharmangada and Satyavati lost their hundred sons in the battlefield and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi
to be born as their child. Goddess obliged them. When she was born all the sages blessed her with immortality "Bathukamma or live forever".