Celebrations for the three-day Makara Sankranti, the harvest festival of Telugu people, began across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with ‘Bhogi’ being held on the first day today.
Young and the old alike woke up in the early hours of the day and lit ‘Bhogi mantalu’ (bonfire). Cow dung cakes and old household items are thrown into the fire.
Dressed in their best attire, they visited temples and offered special prayers.
‘Bhogi pallu’ (plum fruit) are put on the heads of children. People believe that pouring the ‘Bhogi pallu’ on heads would protect the children from evil eye.
The second day of the festival is Sankranti which marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of ‘Makara’ (capricorn) on its celestial path.
The third day is ‘Kanuma’ when prayers are offered to the livestock and farm implements.
Buses and trains, going to AP districts from Hyderabad, have been jam-packed during the last few days with city residents travelling to their native places in large numbers.
Meanwhile, the children and youth of the city began flying kites made in various hues.
The Telangana tourism department and the Aga Khan Academy conducted an international kite festival.
Cock fights were reportedly being conducted in the remote villages of East and West Godavari districts of AP though they are not allowed as per law, according to reports reaching here.
The cockfights are conducted with the cocks having been fed on a special menu and made to fight with small knives tied to their legs. Money also changes hands on the cockfights.
The organisers of the cockfights, however, insist that the cockfights are part of the tradition like Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Police had conducted a campaign against the cockfights in the run-up to the festival.