Bhimanna festival celebrated in Telangana is basically a festival of the Kolam tribe. This tribe is considered as the original inhabitants of this region.
Kolam Tribe Celebrates Bhimanna Festival
This festival is also popular as Ayak festival or Bhimadeva festival. The Kolam tribe resides in places in and around Utmur taluq, Laindiguda and Adilabad district of Telangana state. The Kolam people have Dravadian features. They speak Telugu and some of them also speak Marathi language. They have a patriarchal society with male member being the head of the family. In case of death, they burn the dead body
after which Khe
(dinner) is offered to the community members.
The Ayak shrine is taken care of by the priest. Kolam tribe is also found in states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
When is Ayak or Bhimanna Festival Celebrated
Bhimanna festival is celebrated for three days during moth of 'Satti
' (December) and people pray to Bhimadeva who is the main deity of Kolam tribe. A carved wooden mace is crowned with peacock feathers, a pot, belt of bells (pher
), little mud dolls and anklets (marvar
) which are placed inside a thatched shed.
Thursday is the day when relics of Bhimanna are brought to the village. Goat or fowl is sacrificed and the next day the relics are brought to Mohamloddi. This is a stream, 18 kms. from the village and Bhimanna is bathed here. Bhimanna idol is brought back to the village by evening and a buffalo is sacrificed and a collective feast is enjoyed after cooking the meat. The idol is then placed back into the Ayak shrine.
The sacrifice is meant for fulfilling the vows. Cooked meal is first served to the priests. Jowar is cooked and mixed with the cooked meat and small portions of this meal are placed on all cornerstones of the village.
During the sacrifice of animals, only people belonging to Kolam tribe can be present. Individuals from other communities are not allowed.
Other Festivals Celebrated in Telangana
Telangana has a rich cultural heritage and many festivals are celebrated throughout the year in this state. Festivals celebrated in Telangana include Bonalu festival, Bathukamma festival, Yedupayala Yatara in Medak district, Sammakka Saarakka jatara, Muharram (Peerla Panduga), Ramzan, Dussehra, Sammakka Saralamma in Warangal district etc.
Bhimanna Jatara in Telangana
In Raikal, in Khammam district of Telangana state, there is a famous temple which was built in the 13th century by Kakatiya rulers. The idol in the temple is that of Panchamukhalingeswara Swamy - Lord Shiva. The unique thing about the idol is that this idol of Shiva has 5 faces! There is another such idol only in Varanasi.Raikal is popular for Bhimanna Jatara which is more of a festival celebrated in January every year. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and grandeur.
Every tribe in Telangana has its own traditions and customs including festivals. Festivals give them time for rejoicing and bring them closer through dances, community feasts and prayers offered to their deity. Knowing about tribal life also throws light on the history and culture of the state.