Hyderabad, Sep 25 (IANS): Bathukamma, Telangana's floral festival, commenced on Sunday with women in large numbers participating in the festivities across the state.
Sunday marked the beginning of the nine-day festival, the official festival of Telangana.
Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan celebrated Bathukamma with women from different walks of life at Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor.
Ministers, MPs, MLAs and other elected representatives participated in the celebrations held in various states.
Minister for Panchayat Raj E. Dayakar Rao participated in the celebrations with hundreds of girl students of various residential schools in Warangal.
Bathukamma means 'Goddess of Life' and is celebrated during Dussehra. Women decorate a special pot with seasonal flowers, fill the pot with offerings to the goddess, go in a procession, and later immerse the pot in a local pond.
The state festival will be celebrated in a grand manner across Telangana from September 25 to October 3.
The main celebrations will be held on October 3 which will be celebrated as Saddula Bathukamma.
During the nine-day annual festival, women and girls sing and dance around specially arranged flowers. At the end of the festival, they immerse the specially arranged flowers called Bathukamma in local ponds.
Ever since the formation of Telangana state in 2014, Bathukamma has been celebrated as the state festival.
Governor Soundararajan and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao greeted people on the commencement of Bathukamma.
The Governor said that Bathukamma is a very special festival associated with mother nature and essentially is a celebration of life by women of Telangana.
The colourful seasonal wild flowers used to prepare the idols of Bathukamma do have the medicinal properties to cleanse the water bodies filled to the brim with the copious rains during the season, she said in her message.
She noted that Bathukamma marks the re-union of families and visit of daughters of the soil to celebrate the nine-day long festival.
"Bathukamma is a real tribute to the native Telangana culture and traditions wherein women offer prayers to the Goddess Gauri (Goddess Parvati) in the form of Bathukamma," she said.
The Chief Minister said that the Bathukamma festivities, which are held in the midst of joyous celebrations by women at their birthplaces by decorating Bathukamma with flowers, dance and singing, reflects the uniqueness of the villages.
He recalled that the Telangana government recognized Bathukamma as state festival and accorded a big importance to the Telangana culture and the self-respect of the women.
The Chief Minister said the state government is distributing sarees to one crore women at a cost of Rs 350 crore as a Bathukamma gift.
Chief Minister's daughter and legislator K. Kavitha conveyed her wishes to people on the colourful festival, terming Bathukamma the festival of celebrating the women, culture, nature and togetherness of Telangana.
Kavitha inaugurated the posters of Bathukamma celebrations in various countries. This year, Bathukamma will be celebrated in 8 countries globally, and Telangana Jagruthi headed by Kavitha will host the respective events.
Bathukamma went global last year after showcasing it on the world's largest screen at Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building in Dubai.