Bathukamma is the festival celebrated for nine days during Durga navratri in south India. It is especially popular in the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh. The festival begins on Mahalaya Amavasya and ends on the day of Durgashtami. In the year 2012, it starts on 15 October and ends on 22 October. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack arranged in concentric layers in the shape of a cone.
The festival is celebrated for nine days and on the first day which is called “Engili Poolu” various flowers are collected and the women cut those flowers and arrange them in a stack in concentric layers in the form of a cone. It is also decorated with various other items and kept ready for worship.
The Goddess is invoked into this and worshipped for the remaining days. On the final day of Durgashtami which is also called Saddula Bathukamma, the women gather in a public place with their bathukammas and place them in a group. It is worshipped and later the women dance around the bathukammas while singing folk songs.
After this, the bathukammas are taken to the nearby water bodies and set afloat in the water as symbolising the sending off of Goddess Parvati. Only women are allowed in this ritual and men would wait outside the festival grounds. Thousands of bathukammas are set afloat on this day in Andhra Pradesh region. Later prasadam made from jaggery is distributed among the devotees and the festival comes to an end.