Month-long celebrations kick off from the Sri Jagadamba Mahankali temple at Golconda Fort. Home Minister Naini Narshimha Reddy visited the temple in the morning and presented the traditional offering of silk clothes on behalf of the government.

Less than a month into its birth, Telangana ushered in its first Bonalu, which is also its State festival now.

Devotees thronged the Sri Jagadamba Mahankali temple at Golconda fort on Sunday for the installation of the ammavari ghatam, setting off a month of celebrations marked by religious fervour and colourful festivities.

Home Minister Naini Narshimha Reddy visited the temple in the morning and presented the traditional offering of silk clothes on behalf of the government.

With traditional drum beats renting the air and vermillion-smeared pothurajus cracking their whips, devotees arrived in large numbers from different parts of the city and from neighbouring districts.

Clad in their traditional finery, women brought along the bonam, the festive offering for the mother goddess, prepared from cooked rice and jaggery in a pot and adorned with neem leaves.

Celebrations at Secunderabad and at Lal Darwaza in Old City are to follow in subsequent weeks.

Special arrangements

There was a marked difference in terms of arrangements, with the long-standing demand for Bonalu (or the Ashada Jatra) to be declared the State festival becoming a reality this year.

The temple and the entire route to it, including the steps leading to the main temple, were decked up for the occasion. Most devotees arrived in small processions. The GHMC and the HMWSSB, among other government departments, had made arrangements to provide clean roads, drinking water and electricity.