Representation of Bonalu traditions through art
Representation of Bonalu traditions through art

Alliance Francaise along with Telangana Tourism Department recently organised a photography exhibition ‘Bonalu’ by Vidyasagar Lakka. The exhibition is the artist’s desire to keep alive the tradition of worship of the Mother Goddess.Photographer Vidyasagar is interested in promoting Bonalu festival, to different cross-section of people through various photo exhibitions.  

His exhibition has started to create interest and provides information about the festival well in advance, His art gives a glimpse on how it is celebrated, and the rituals involved, so that enthusiasts can visit the Bonalu festival coming up in the Ashadam month (July –August); to promote and keep alive the rich Telangana heritage and culture through this ‘Thematic Art Exhibition’.

Vidyasagar Lakka, is an alumnus of JNTU fine arts photography and Hyderabad Central University.  He has a post-graduate diploma in TV Production and is currently working as a photo officer at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

He is also a member of Telangana Photography Society, Hyderabad. Photography is his passion and he occasionally dwell on the visual narration of the folk traditions of Telangana, and the colours of life in the fledgling state of Telangana.

Vidyasagar Lakka said, “I did this photo exhibition to give a glimpse into the grandest folk festival of Telangana, in India, to detail the history, customs, rituals, and festivities that mark Bonalu. 

It attempts to showcase the unique worship of the Mother Goddess Kali, one of the oldest surviving Hindu traditional folk festivals in the region of Telangana. Bonalu, a vibrant and unique folk festival, is celebrated in the twin cities of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and other parts of Telangana during the month of Ashada (July-August) on Sunday, followed by the Rangam program on Monday,”  
It is also a humble attempt on the part of the artist, to open a window to the origins and beliefs behind Bonalu, the festival that is witnessing a widespread resurgence in the state of Telangana.    The vibrant, month-long celebrations reveal roots of the culture of this region and more particularly unique culture of Hyderabad. Most of all, this is a reflection and desire to keep alive the tradition of worship of the Mother Goddess.

He added, “Bonalu is one of its oldest surviving folk festivals, keeping alive the tradition of thanksgiving to Goddess Kali. A photo is worth a thousand words. Photography can go a long way in preserving local cultures and traditions in a world rapidly changing beyond comprehension. Using camera as a tool I want to popularise Telangana festivals and identity of Telangana people,”

This exhibition is a result of the Vidyasagar’s passion for the realistic preservation of India’s local cultures and traditions through his photography. It takes you on a tour of Bonalu, revealing the colour, the excitement, the energy and the unforgettable feel of the spectacle that unfolds in the streets of Hyderabad.

For this exhibition, Vidyasagar visited all places in the city to know more about it. “Before the Telangana State formation, not many people knew about Bonalu festivities. After it was declared as a State festival, it is gaining popularity. 

I showcased my exhibition at Alliance Francaise to show foreigners about it. I did the same exhibition in December 2017 at ICRISAT. I am also planning to print a photo book on Bonalu festivities. Before, I captured festivals like Bathukamma and Sadar,” concluded Vidyasagar.