Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp officially acknowledged the significance of the 3rd week of October 2023 as “BATHUKAMMA, A FLOWER FESTIVAL AND TELANGANA HERITAGE WEEK.” This landmark proclamation highlights the remarkable contributions of the Telugu-speaking Telangana community from India, residing not only in Georgia but also across the entire United States.
The Bathukamma festival, also known as Bathukamma Panduga or the “festival of life,” is a revered 9-day floral extravaganza deeply rooted in the Telangana region, taking place from October 15th to October 23rd this year. This celebration symbolizes the profound connection between humanity and the essential elements of earth and water.
The festival is renowned for its vibrant floral arrangements, exuberant women’s dances, and heartwarming family reunions.
Governor Kemp’s proclamation not only acknowledges the rich historical legacy of Telangana, which spans nearly 5,000 years, but also pays tribute to the Telangana community’s invaluable contributions to Georgia’s cultural diversity and progress across various domains, including medicine, engineering, politics, law, culture, and community welfare.
The formal presentation of the proclamation to representatives of the Global Telangana Association (GTA) was a notable event. This presentation was made by Ritesh Desai, a senior Republican and commissioner of Georgians First Commission.
The ceremony took place amidst the grand Bathukamma festival organized by GTA on October 21st at Denmark High School in Alpharetta. The event saw the presence of distinguished guests, including county and state elected officials, marking a momentous occasion for all attendees.
Notably, journalist Ravi Ponangi played a pivotal role in crafting the proclamation and spearheading the request to Governor Kemp. Ponangi emphasized that this recognition serves as a tribute to the pioneers who laid the groundwork for Telangana culture and heritage in Atlanta. These luminaries include Late G.S. Reddy, Late Jagan Mohan Rao, Narender Reddy, Ratnakar Reddy, Dr. Satyanarayana Reddy, Bala Indurti, Karunakar Asireddy, and others who have nurtured a vibrant Telangana community in Georgia.
The festivities in Atlanta commenced with TAMA’s Dasara and Bathukamma Sambaraalu on October 15th, followed by a series of events organized by TDF, GTA, GATes, and other associations across Georgia. These events featured cultural performances, music, fashion shows, shopping, and entertainment, drawing thousands from the local community.
The Bathukamma festival is a significant tribute to women, symbolizing the protective goddess Gauri. Women from diverse backgrounds unite to craft beautiful floral arrangements, transcending societal divides. Traditional dishes are prepared, offered to the Goddess, and shared within the community.
Following nine days of honoring Goddess Bathukamma, thousands of women bid farewell to a grand Saddula Bathukamma made from colorful flowers at the Greater Atlanta Telangana Society’s (GATes) event on October 22nd at Forsyth Central High School. In the evening, women congregated with their vibrant Bathukammas to worship the Goddess and sing songs in her honor. GATes also awarded prizes for the best-decorated Bathukammas.
The Governor’s proclamation was presented to GATes officials by Ritesh Desai, Dr. Srini Gangasani, and journalist Ravi Ponangi. Expressing his delight at attending two Bathukamma festivals in the same year, Ritesh Desai highlighted the unity within the community and mentioned Governor Kemp’s previous recognition of the Telugu Lunar New Year, “UGADI.”
The recognition of Telangana culture and heritage during the 9-day Bathukamma festival in a foreign land has elicited immense joy and pride among numerous dignitaries, community leaders, and individuals. This acknowledgment stands as a testament to the cultural richness and contributions of the Telangana community in Georgia, marking a significant milestone in their legacy.