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Mancherial: Rains failed to dampen spirit of devotees who celebrated the annual Bonalu festival with religious fervor and gaiety by thronging temples of Sri Pochamma, Maiasamma and other local deities across the district on Sunday.

The devotees hailing from Chunnambattiwada, Janmabhuminagar, Hamaliwada, Vempalli and other parts of the town in Mancherial town revered Sri Pochamma by offering Bonam (specially prepared rich dish with milk and jaggery) to the deity from early morning till afternoon. They took out processions carrying clay pots containing the offering and decorated with leaves of neem and turmeric from their residences to the temple. Folk artistes presented dance shows.

Mancherial MLA Nadipelli Diwakar Rao took part in the celebrations and visited the shrines. He said that the Bonalu festival was celebrated in the month of Hindu month Ashadam to express gratitude to the deities for their well-being. Basic amenities were created at the temples and steps were taken for the smooth conduct of the spiritual affair, he added.

In the meantime, certain devotees of district headquarters Ramakrishnapur and Mandamarri towns and surrounding villages congregated at the famous Sri Gandhari , Maisamma temple on the outskirts of Bokkalagutta village in Mandamarri mandal and on Mancherial-Bellampalli road. They thronged the temple by forming serpentine queue lines. They broke coconuts and sacrificed chickens and goats as a token of gratitude. Women devotees carried Bonam on their heads and offered it to goddess Maisamma.

After taking darshan, the devotees cooked various dishes under the trees and by erecting tents in the surroundings of the shrine, facing intermittent rains. They dined along with family members and friends. They spent in Gandhari Vanam and Children’s Park situated beside the temple. Some of them had taken bath in Palavagu, abutting the holy place. Similar colorful celebrations were witnessed in Bellampalli, Luxettipet, Chennur, Thandur and rural parts of the district.

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Author: Howard Caldwell