ATF celebrates 8th bathukamma festival in Sydney


Festival assumes greater importance because of the formation of Telangana State of India in 2013

With over 450 participants, on 12 October at Ermington Centre, Australian Telangana Forum’s Bathukamma festival took Sydney Siders, who trace their origin to the Telangana areas of India, back to the times of the original princely state of Hyderabad.

Honourable guests were Dr Geoff Lee, MP-Parramatta, Mr. V Prakash, political analyst from India, and Mr. K Muralidhar Rao, SP from India.

Bathukamma is a spring festival celebrated mostly by young Hindu women of Telangana in India. During this festival, prayers are conducted in honour of Goddess Gowrie in the belief that it will bring health and prosperity to the family as well as give the women of the family a happy marriage. The festival is celebrated for eight days during Navarathri until Durgashtami day. Durgashtami day is the biggest bathukamma festival day and is called “Saddula Bathukamma”.

Politically too, this year’s bathukamma was very important, as the new Telangana state was formed in India in 2013, and there is talk that the bathukamma festival would be made the State’s festival. One of ATF’s prime objectives has been ‘to promote a democratic movement for the formation of the Telangana State in the Republic of India’.

President of ATF Madhav Katikaneni led the entire event successfully. ATF ladies and young girls were seen dressed in traditional clothes. They prepared a beautiful bathukamma (floral display) in 10 layers to symbolize the 10 districts of the proposed Telangana state in India.

The chief guests were asked to light the lamp beside the Telangana Thalli portrait and they later shared their views on the bathukamma festival — the eighth time ATF has organized it — and its integration into multicultural Australia.

Dr Geoff Lee spoke of the importance of this festival to Telangana women in Sydney, while Mr. Prakash spoke of the bathukamma festival’s connection to Telangana society and explained the way bathukamma flowers purify the waters after rituals. Mr Rao described his experiences related to bathukamma festivals in India.

At 5.30pm, the bathukamma display was carried to Parramatta lake. After a small prayerful dance by the ladies of ATF, the bathukamma was floated into the lake. General Secretary of ATF Mr. Venkata Prasad Ragipani shared the forum’s long-term vision to make the festival a Parramatta council annual event.

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