Sankranti kicks off with Bhogi in Telangana, Andhra
Hyderabad, Jan 14, 2015: The three-day Sankranti festival kicked off with fervour and gaiety across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday with the celebration of Bhogi on the first day.This is the first Sankranti, the harvest festival, after Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh as a separate state.Towns and villages in both the Telugu states came alive with the festivities with people setting bonfires on the streets with agricultural and household waste.The celebrations began in the early hours of the day with people cleaning their houses and burning old items with a belief that new things would usher into their lives.People gathered at street corners in the early hours of the day and lit up a Bhogi fire in which unwanted goods like old clothes, mats and broom sticks were burnt.Men, women and children went around the bonfires with prayers. Some sang and danced.Bhogi is also known as Indran and is celebrated in the honour of Indra, the Hindu god. Hindus worship Indra for good harvest and prosperity.Andhra Pradesh Minister for Major Irrigation D. Umamaheswar Rao participated in Bhogi in Vijayawada. Transport Minister S. Raghava Rao took part in the bonfire in Ongole.Villages wore festive look with women decorating the entrance with intricate rangoli designs. Young men took to kite flying.After thoroughly cleaning their houses, women set cow-dung balls called 'Gobbemma' and placed it among the rangoli patterns. They also put fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane.The houses were decorated with marigold flowers and mango leaves.'Haridasus' and 'Basvannas', the uniquely attired alm seekers with ornately decorated ox, made rounds of the villages.The families, after offering prayers in temples, prepare various dishes, especially Pongal - made of rice and daal.Decoration of bulls, cock-fight, bull-fight and other rural sports mark the three-day festival.