Netakani people celebrate Bathukamma, Diwali together
Warangal: Ever heard of people celebrating Bathukamma-Diwali combo? But it's true that families of the Netakani community in Seethampeta, 15 kilometres northwest of Warangal, have this strange tradition continuing for over a century. How and when it started is undocumented, but this weird tradition is in vogue in the community transmitted to it from generation to generation.
The community elders feel that it's auspicious and augur well for them. The three-day festivity begins with Netakani families performing Kedareshwara vratham (a ritual to appease the God) on Diwali.
Afterwards, the Netakanis fetch black clay soil from a pond near their village to make an idol of two oxen for offering prayers. The second day of the festivity belongs exclusively to the men. The men spruce up the idol of oxen with ornaments such as plough, stick spiked etc made of flour.
Later, they take out a procession of oxen idol to the pond and offer prayers. The procession is marked with dances, kolatam and bhajans of men. This is the time where the men splash colours on their brother-in-laws.
It's followed by bursting of firecrackers. Later, they immerse the oxen idol in the pond. They collect the pond water and variety of flowers before they head to their homes. At home, they perform abhishekam to Kedareshwara Swamy with the pond water.
The third day and final day witnesses a razzamatazz with the exuberance of Netakanis. While men play kolatam, the women bring Bathukammas to the pond. The preparation of Bathukammas is much like that of those we used to during the Saddula Bathukamma.
The women worship Gowramma (cone made of turmeric and vermillion to invoke Goddess). Later, the women exchange the flour cuisines with each other. Thereafter, they immerse the Gowramma in the pond.
Then they collect pond water in pots and return home to offer special prayers to Kedareshwara Swamy. The festivity ends with the cleaning of puja paraphernalia with pond water and milk.
Speaking to The Hans India, Seethampeta Sarpanch Janagam Sharath Kumar said, "the festival is a unique combination of Bathukamma, the festival of flowers, and Diwali, the festival of lights. The Netakani community has been celebrating it from times immemorial.
Wherever they live, they all gather for the festivity. The community elders say that it's for the wellbeing of the people." He said that the festivity ended on Tuesday evening with a large number of Netakanis attending it amid fervour.