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Families living in and around Atlanta celebrated the Bathukamma Panduga (festival) recently with joy. Telangana Community, Inc. organized the festival at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale. The ladies started arriving with their beautiful "bathukammas" which are basically an arrangement of flowers and other items, at the venue from 11.30 am and finally saw a substantial gathering of 500 plus people. More than 60 Bathukammas were brought to the venue overcoming the challenge of keeping the flower arrangement intact while commuting long distances especially on the interstates.
The Bathukamma Panduga was kicked off with Jyoti Prajwalana followed by cultural programs.
Bathukamma Panduga is one of the most unique festivals of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh and is celebrated mainly by women.. This festival falls in the months of September/October during Dasara. It is a festival honoring the `life-giver’ Goddess Gowri known as Bathukamma, with women seeking her blessings for prosperity and a good year. Colors, flowers and water are all intrinsic to the festival; and the goddess herself is not one rooted in a shrine but made of flowers that signify both life and eternity in their colors as well as impermanence. For, the goddess is `created’ each year, and immersed duly at the conclusion in local water ponds. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with seasonal flowers, in seven layers, like a cone.
The program started at 3.30 pm with Gowri puja by Phani Kumar and Narasimha Murty, priests of the temple. Melodious and rhythmic ‘Bathukamma’ songs were sung with infectious enthusiasm by ladies, in groups, intermittently dancing around the ‘Bathukamma’ and singing. Members of the audience were momentarily transported back to their native villages and pleasant memories of earlier Bathukammas.
Well-decorated Bathukammas were selected and the winners were Madhuri Madarapu, Madhavi Vupalla, Premalatha and Sandhya Chiluveru. Appreciation trophies are also presented to Kasturi Katakam, Sridevi Surabhi and Hanumanth Indira. Sai Murali Restaurant gave gift coupons to both winners and appreciation winners. Swapna Restaurant gave gift coupons for each of the Bathukammas brought.
Finally the bathukammas were immersed in a pool at the children’s play area.