For the first time in its history TLCA celebrated BATUKAMMA, the festival of Flowers, Songs and Dance in Hindu Temple Auditorium, Flushing. Telugus from through out Tristate have enthusiastically participated in the event in large numbers and brought beautifully decorated Batukammas.
Bathukamma is a festival celebrated by the Hindu women in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also called as Bodemma. This festival falls in the months of September/October called as Ashvin or Aswiyuja. Bathukamma festival is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya. On the final day, the closing ceremony of Bathukamma panduga is celebrated as a great festival.
Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with seasonal flowers, in seven concentric layers, of potter’s clay like a cone. Bathuku in Telugu means live/life, and Amma means mother, hence Bathukamma, is celebrated for the glory, later denoted as Goddess Gauri - the patron Goddess of womanhood.
The program started with the Harati to Durga Maata. All the telugu women donning colorful Sarees in festive attire joined hands and voices offered prayers to the Goddess of power. After the prayers all the participants assembled in a big circle and sung Batukamma songs. These songs are the melodies describing the evolution of the festival, praising the Goddess Gauri and also depict the culture of the Telugus.
Then there was a Kolatam, another traditional dance style. The lead event coordinator, Krishna Sri choreographed the dance and the participants beautifully danced to the tunes.
All the carefully and beautifully crafted Batukammas were offered prayers. They carried the Batukamma's to the makeshift pool in the auditorium premises and placed them in the water. This concludes the festival and all the women exchange pasupu and kumkum. All the participants were given the traditional Vayanam, including fruits, sweets and a blouse piece. The greatness of our community is that our culture is cherished, nurtured and carried over to the future generation. Lot of young adults, kids were seen having fun and participated the festival events. TLCA does its part at its best in promoting the culture in the Tristate.
TLCA organized a Rangavalli and Batukamma competition. It was a great sight to see the creations from the Telugu women. Beautiful Rangavallulu and Batukammalu were part of the competition which portrayed our tradition and culture. It was a touch time for the judges who admired the reativity and the intricate artwork of the exhibits. Prizes were announced in these to disciplines.
The coordinator Srinivas Guduru then opened up the floor to a non-stop music extravaganza, open Dandya and Gurba. Participants jumped into the middle of the hall and danced to the Dandiya songs played. It was a nonstop 45 min musical damaka and the adults and kids enjoyed the dance with utmost enthusiasm.
After a sumptuous festive lunch, games were conducted. Ashok Chintakunta has organized the games. Our multitasking Telugu aadapaduchulu joined the competitions with their spouses. They displayed great sportsman spirit and had fun too during the games. Prizes were distributed by the President, Vikram Jangam supported by the Secretary, Nagendra Gupta.
The TLCA President has praised the large gathering for joining the first ever TLCA sponsored Batukamma event and stressed the importance of protecting our culture, heritage. He praised the community for their support to TLCA which has been making strides and reaching newer heights every year. He conveyed his heartfelt thanks to Dr. Mallareddy Pailla for sponsoring the food for the event.
Secretary Nagendra Gupta thanked everyone for their enthusiastic participation and congratulated the Event Committee comprising Krishna Sree Gandham for her untiring work in choreographing, arranging Tamboolalu, picking up the right songs for the event Rajee Kuncham for taking care of the Registration Desk, Srinivas Guduru for taking care of the Food, Audio equipment, Music and Ashok Chintakunta who took care of the logistics, necessary purchases, organizing the games. The committee working relentlessly in making the program a thunderous success. He also thanked Sampath Damineni, Ram Joga, Yogi Vanama, Ranjit, Manohar, Anil Avala and other volunteers who served the delicious food to the community. Thanks to Vamshi Guduru and Nani Avala for their support with camera. Master Chaitanya deserved special praise for helping the coordinators.