It was a riot of colour at the Ponds High School auditorium in Sydney, Australia, as women from Telangana celebrated Bathukamma, the festival of flowers, reminiscing their childhood while the younger generation got a taste of their traditions and culture.
Bathukamma songs echoed in the auditorium as the women rythmically danced to the tunes of Bathukamma songs in their resplendent best. Ethnic wear from their closets was out even as they came out of one of the longest lockdowns in the world.
A 15-foot Bathukamma balloon, Rangoli hut, and Durga mandir provided the perfect setting for the evening. The flower goddess was immersed in the local tanks by the women as they bid farewell to the festival. Bathukamma was introduced in Australia during the Telangana movement by the Australian Telangana Forum with the support of Vinod Elete, a doctor settled in Sydney and a strong proponent of the separate Telangana movement. His inspiration was his father, late Limba Reddy, who actively participated in the Telangana Liberation movement during 1946-48 at Nizamabad.
Dr. Vinod said in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed and October month is the middle of spring in Sydney. marigold and cosmos flowers bloom in the season making it perfect for Bathukamma celebrations.
The first ever Bathukamma was celebrated on September 17, 2006, at Meadow bank park on the banks of Parramatta River and an appeal for Telangana was sent to the then Prime Minister. Sydney Bathukamma is now integrating into multicultural Australia. In fact, the festival was also celebrated in the Australian Parliament.
Syndey Bathukamma always recognises the best bathukamma and awards them. This time, three prizes were given encouraging the women to make Bathukammas. Dinner was served and sponsored by Telugu restaurants.
Sydney Bathukamma team members Kavitha Tootukur , Kavya Gummadavalli, Vani Elete, Vidya Seri, Vatsala Muddham, Latha Kadaparthi, Swetha Thedla, Harika Mannem and Swetha Yama organised an exclusive hall to train and practise Bathukamma and kolatam for Telangana children.