The annual Ashada Bonalu celebration kick-started in Hyderabad on Sunday amid the COVID-19 pandemic with hundreds of devotees thronging the Goddess Jagadamba temple atop the historical Golconda fort. The festival will continue every Sunday till August 8.
But many people participating in the Bonalu festival were seen without masks and social distancing went for a toss, reported NDTV. As per the report, some state minsters were among the attendees and were seen flouting COVID-19 protocols.
Ministers Talasani Srinivas Yadav and Indrakaran Reddy were seen offering the golden bonam to Goddess Jagadambika at Golconda to the accompaniment of dancers, drums and music. Social distancing went for a toss as the venue that was seen brimming with people in visuals.
Bonalu is a Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the goddess Mahakali. The festival celebrations are predominantly observed in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Bonalu is celebrated to ward off diseases and usher in good health, peace and prosperity.
A large number of women devotees offered 'bonam' (rice, cooked along with milk and jaggery)to the goddess. The 'bonalu' festival is celebrated usually during the Hindu calendar month of 'Ashada' that falls in July and August.
The Telangana government has sanctioned Rs15 crore for conducting the Bonalu festival. Necessary arrangements were made so that the festival is celebrated in strict compliance of COVID-19 guidelines. The Telangana government has accorded status of "state festival" to Bonalu after the formation of the new state in June 2014.
The state reported 465 new Covid cases on Sunday and added four deaths. The positivity rate in the state is at 0.78 per cent while over 10,000 cases are active. Over 1.23 crore people have been vaccinated in the state so far.