Bathukamma 2012

Telangana Comunity relives Bathukamma Tradition !!

Farther you are away from your home country, more you start loving your heritage, customs and traditions. This truly shows up whenever Telangana Community (TCI) organizes its public events. Every year hundreds of people attend 'Bathukamma' a festive occasion celebrated with 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 celebration usually highlights folk songs/dances followed by actual 'Bathukamma' ritual. Women sing songs and prayers by moving in circles around hundreds of Bathukammas they bring.

This year, Bathukamma Festival, held at South Forsyth Middle School, on Saturday October 20 was attended by few hundreds. This year's cultural program attracted several amateur folk singers and dancers. Artists sang several songs that were written in praise of life that revolves around village atmosphere. Dances by several of groups of kids attracted the audience. 

After a two hour cultural program, Bathukamma was played by more than 300 women with jubilation. Several Bathukamma songs was rendered by visiting moms. Although there were new singers, they did an excellent job with passion. Several little girls came in true traditional dress - langa and Voni and looked so cute.

Started in the year 2006 with 10 families under the leadership of Late Sri Satyanarayana Reddy Gavva, has grown into a much-awaited annual event year after year. Initiated and organized by half a dozen people with dedication, this event attracts people living in Metro Atlanta - originally hailing not only from Telangana area but from all places of Andhra Pradesh. In fact those who are not familiar with this event hitherto are now equally excited to watch this festive moment.

Since 2010, Telangana Community has been honoring one person who contributes the most to the community. This year, Chandramohan Nellutla was recognized and honored for his services. He taught 'Special Math' for kids of all ages. According to his students and their parents, these sessions helped them immensely in improving their math skills. Narender Reddy, Community Leader of Atlanta, has presented a plaque to Chandramohan and said, "People like Chandramohan always demonstrate their selfless services. Our kids do appreciate this gesture deeply and develop a habit of serving community when they grow up.

This year's Bathukamma is co-hosted by Greater Atlanta Telugu Association (GATA) and Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) . Both these Telugu organizations have extended financial support and their officers attended the program. Speaking on the occasion, Satyanarayana Reddy Tangirala said, “GATA, since inception, has been supportive to all TCI activities. There are different organizations but the goal is same - serving community. GATA’s objectives and goals of mostly community-centric. Most programs are geared towards helping families and children. TAMA President, Suresh Peddi said, "I am very delighted to be here this afternoon and take part in a such a colorful celebration. I am here to learn and witness this wonderful festival. TAMA has always supported TCI during Bathukamma and will in coming years. Such events promote and help us respect our traditions”. North American Telugu Society (NATS) has extended a good amount of financial support for this year’s Bathukamma.

Rathnaker Elugunti, President of TCI, just after lighting of the lamp gave a quick account of how the organization gaining the support of Telugu Community in US in helping our people back home. Ravi Chander, a champion of Water Projects mission in Telangana Districts, could not be present but sent a message that emphasizes the need for purifying water in backward areas of Telangana that is resulting in several water-borne diseases.

The cultural program designed and coordinated by Viju Chiluveru and Madhavi Gangasani every year was ably supported by Ram Durvasula of, Anitha Vanagala and Swapna Katta did an excellent job of executing the entire program as MCs of the afternoon. They also gave a brief overview of how and why Bathukamma is made. Srinivas Durgam, Srivalli Kondur, Nanda Chatla and others sang beautiful songs. A dance item by students of Shiva Institute of Dance was one of the highlights. Few other dances choreographed by Radhika Vangapally, Anitha Vangala and Sujatha Nelluttla have captured the audience hearts. There were few last-minute dances, which captured everyone.

Like every year, TCI holds a contest of to encourage women to arrange beautiful Bathukammas. Led by Ramadevi Reddy Boyapally, this contest was judged by several other women. First prize was shared by Anitha Vangala and Kakatiya Queens. Second Prize went to Busa Laxmi, Srujana Gandra and Madhavi Ganagasani and third prizes was shared by Sandhya Chiluveru, Laxmi Enuganti and Shylaja Vadire. 

Food supply was coordinated by Prashanti Asireddy with the help of several volunteers Sudhira Elugunti, Neeraja Boyapally, Lavanya Joginapally, Mahesh Nilagiri and several others. Venue coordination was handled by Venkat Veeraneni. Sridhar Vakiti, who volunteers to take photographs every year, did a wonderful job of capturing every moment of the event and broadcasting the show live on behalf of YuppTV.

In his Vote of Thanks Venkat Veeraneni praised the efforts of everyone who is involved in this event directly and indirectly. He also thanked all those who made financial contribution. Due to reasons of space, we are not able to publish the long of names.

TCI Sincerely appreciates all contributions, volunteers help and participants support, if we have missed acknowledging any individuals by name, it is totally unintentional.

-- Viju Chiluveru

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