Golconda Mahankali temple set for grand Bonalu fete
Deccan Chronicle.| Tushar Kaushik
Bonalu celebrations will be held on June 30
Preparation for the Bonalu festival at the Mahakali temple inside Golconda Fort began on Tuesday. (DC)
Hyderabad: The Mahankali temple inside Golconda Fort might be just a tiny structure below a cave, and requires a short but tough climb to reach it. However, it sees one of the grandest Bonalu celebrations every year, and also has the honour of being the first major celebration of Bonalu in the city.
Members of a single family have been the temple priests for nearly 100 years. Current priest Sarvesh Chary says both his grandfather and father had served as priests. "My grandfather was appointed by the Nizam government before Independence, and even now I have his letter of appointment," he says proudly.
He adds that the rock which forms the cave over the temple looks like a Nandi from far.
Chary reveals that the temple has existed since the 12th century, when the Kakatiya king Rudra Pratap, who was ruling from Warangal, built a mud fort and this small temple on the hillock. Later in the 17th century, the brothers Akkanna and Madanna, who were ministers under the king, restored the temple.
However, the period when the temple began attracting more devotees was in the early 20th century. With the city in the grip of Spanish Flu and other diseases, devotees would visit it to pray that no one in their household fell sick, a practice that continues till today.
INTACH convenor Anuradha Reddy says earlier, the rocks could be viewed clearly while the structures around them were a recent addition. She said the Bonalu held here roughly coincided with the beginning of the monsoon every year, which were known to cause a spurt of vector borne diseases, and devotees prayed to protect them from these diseases.
While the Bonalu celebrations will be held on June 30 this year, even on Tuesday, a group of six women were seen taking the Bonam offerings up to the temple along the steps of the fort. The women were barefoot, as per the tradition.