Bonalu in India in 2024

Bonalu in India in 2024
A worshipper during Bonalu. Image by Shashank , via Flickr
  How long until Bonalu?
  Dates of Bonalu in India
2025 Telangana Sat, Jul 19 Regional Holiday
2024 Telangana Mon, Jul 29 Regional Holiday
2023 Telangana Mon, Jul 17 Regional Holiday
2022 Telangana Mon, Jul 25 Regional Holiday
2021 Telangana Mon, Aug 2 Regional Holiday

A Hindu festival in Telangana celebrating Goddess Mahakali in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad

When is Bonalu?

Bonalu is a regional Indian public holiday, observed in Telangana. Also known as Ashada Jatara, it is celebrated on the Shashti tithi of Shukla paksha (sixth day) of the month of Ashadha.

Note that the festival lasts for several days and the date we show is the one from the official Telangana list of gazetted holidays, which we will update as soon as that is issued.

Traditions of Bonalu

This is a popular festival which venerates Mahakali, the Hindu goddess of time and death. It is observed across the state, but the main festivities take place in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The name Bonalu is derived from the Telugu word for feast, and food plays an important part in Bonalu, with meals being prepared to honour the goddess as part of special puja(acts of worship) during the festival. Mahakali is worshipped in all her forms during the festival with different temples observing different ceremonies.

Back at the start of the 19th century, the people of Hyderabad and Secunderabad were suffering from an outbreak of plague. They prayed to Mahakali to stop the plague and when the disease left the cities, the grateful citizens erected a statue to Mahakali and began the tradition of Bonalu.

With a pantheon of 33 million gods to pray to, Mahakali was probably chosen as Hindu mythology says she is native to the region and traditionally returned to her ancestral home during the month of Ashada.

Bonalu has been an official state festival in Telangana since 2014.

As befits a god of death, Mahakali is commonly portrayed in a striking manner with her four arms holding weapons and a severed head. Her skin is blue with fiery red eyes and she often wears a necklace made from the skulls of demons she has killed.

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