American Telugu Association (ATA), a burgeoning Telugu non-profit organization catering to the interests of Telugu people across North America, organized its flagship event ATA Dussehra & Bathukamma Sambaraalu with much pomp and fervor on Saturday, October 9th, 2021 at Sri Venkateswara Swamy (Balaji) Temple in Aurora IL.
Bathukamma is a floral festival celebrated during Navratri time and is predominantly celebrated in the Telangana State of India. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers arrangement. Women and little girls offer prayers to goddess Gauramma for good health, wealth and prosperity to their families.
Bathukamma event took off to a grand start with a strong contingent of 350 local community members taking part in the festivities. Illinois 11th District Congressman Bill Foster was the Guest of Honor for the event and amidst Vedic renditions kickstarted the festivities with the ceremonial lamp lighting ceremony. Congressman Foster appreciated the outstanding contributions of Telugus across all walks of life to the American society as doctors, engineers businessmen, etc. Congressman Congratulated the audience for keeping the Indian Traditions, festivals and values alive in the US and was curious about the significance of the festival. According to the Congressman, it was estimated that around 1 Million Telugu native language speakers/Indian Americans are currently living in the United States. Saree-clad Indian Women and little girls dressed in ethnic attire danced to the folk songs late into the evening.
A special kolatam dance performance spearheaded by Saritha Reddy Nandyala mesmerized the audiences. The special attraction of the evening was the percussion instruments performance by Maharashtra Rudra Garjana and Chicago Chenda group playing traditional drums (dhols). Drone cameras were used to capture the aarathi and Nimajjan activities. Specialty snacks from Telangana and sumptuous Indian delicacies were served. President Bhuvanesh Boojala, President-elect Madhu Bommineni wished that the people in both the Telugu states a safe and happy Dussera & Bathukamma. Bathukamma Event Coordination, planning and execution were conducted under the leadership of Board of Trustee Dr Meher Medavaram and Sainath Reddy Boyapalli Board of Trustee & Treasurer ATA. Maheedhar Reddy Muskula (ATA Office Coordinator) assisted the event. Regional Coordinators Venkatram Reddy Ravi, Venkateswara Ramireddy and Suchitra Reddy oversaw the event proceedings with support from Chalma Reddy Bandaru, Venkat Thudi, Mahipal Reddy Vancha, Bhanu Swargam, Narasimha Chittaluri, Karunakar Doddam, Amar Nettam, Laxmi Boyapalli, Ramana Abbaraju, Satish Yellamilli, Jagan Bukkaraju, Vishwanath Chitra, Hari Raini & Bheem Reddy. ATA Chicago Team congratulated the support of volunteers, local organizations, friends and family members for their never-ending support to ATA. ATA Media chair Bhanu Swargam praised the relentless media support to ATA.
Bathukamma pre-event and making of the floral stacks was coordinated by Suchitra Reddy, Padma Muskula, Deepthi Vancha, Vaishali Ravi, Tulasi RV Reddy, Harathi Thudi, Aparna Kollu, Lavanya Gundu, Nandini Bukkaraju, Deepika Namasani, Swathi Rao, Asha Tuluva Supritha Kesavarapu, Prasuna Reddy Voruganti, Sudha Kunduru, Anitha Koppara, Asha Reddy Pasham, Malleshwari Peddamallu & Saritha Challa. Raffle ticket winners, Best Bathukamma winners, etc were awarded prizes.