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One of the many famous and ancient temples in Hyderabad is the Yellamma Temple located at Balkampet. The Temple draws huge crowds on Sundays and Tuesdays in particular. It is also very famous for the Bonalu Jathara celebrations that take place here. Bonalu is Hyderabad’s most popular festival besides Ramzan.
The Balkampet Yellamma Temple is dedicated to Goddess Yellamma. Yellamma literally means ‘mother of the universe’ and that is exactly how the Goddess is regarded. Thus, the alternative name- Jaggadamba also. She’s also believed to be the same as Goddess Renuka by some legends. The other school of thought associates her closely with Renuka but distinguishes between the two. The story goes like this that Renuka, daughter of Raja Renuka was married to Jamadugni, the son of Satyawati and had five sons, one of which was Parshurama. One day, Renuka failed to perform one of her regular household duties and this angered her husband. He asked her to flee and the troubled Renuka was advised by saints to perform pujas in front of a Shivalinga and feed Brahmins as part of her penance. Jamadugni remained furious at her and demanded that his sons also punish their mother. All but Parusharama refused. Hence, they were burned to ashes by the gaze of their father. Parusharama set out with an axe to look for his mother who’d gone hiding in a village. When he found her, he beheaded her and along with her, the poor woman who’d been hiding her. Pleased by his son’s obedience, Jamadugni granted him a boon. Parusharama asked for the lives of his brothers, his mother and the village woman to be restored. But in the process of joining back the bodies and heads of the ladies, the head of Renuka got restored on the other woman’s head and vice versa. Jamadugni accepted the lady with the body of Renuka and the other form came to be known as Yellamma- mother to all. She was devoutly worshipped by all Telangana people from then.
Balkampet Yellamma Goddess is also believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Kali. That explains the grand celebrations of Bonalu at the Balkampet Yellamma Temple. Devotees offer animal sacrifice in forms of chicken and goats. But the more important festival that the temple celebrates is the marriage ceremony of the temple goddess- Yellamma Kalyanotsavam.
Bonalu Jathara Festival at Balkampet Yellamma Temple starts after Golconda Bonalu Jathara and Ujjaini Mahankali Bonalu Jathara.
Balkampet Yellamma Temple is one of the ancient temples of Hyderabad. The devasthanam of this famous Temple of Hyderabad was first constructed in 15th Century, AD. But the temple took its present form later on, in the early 20th century, AD.
The idol of the goddess, interestingly, lies 10 feet deeper than the ground level. There’s also a well in the Balkampet Yellamma temple complex and the devout believe that the water in the well is cure to all ailments. Hence, a bath here is believed to purify you from all skin diseases and troubles. This holy water is called ‘Theertham’. An Akhand Jyoth is also present in the temple which was lit during the renovation. Also part of the temple complex are shrines dedicated to various other gods like Ganesha, Nagadevta, Rajarajeshwari, Sri Pochamma. There are plans on constructing a complex for the pilgrims who visit for Bonalu celebrations at this temple of Hyderabad.
Masanpally Narsing Rao Yadav is the Chairman of Balkampet Yellamma Temple. The temple made news recently when Chairperson of Reliance Industries, Nita Ambani came to offer prayers here.
– Approx 10 Kms from Secunderabad Railway Station (40-45 min drive)
– 12.5 Kms from MGBS Bus Stop, Hyderabad ( 60-70 min drive)
– Buses from Secunderabad – 226E, 10AS, 10Y, 10H, 10, 10K-V, etc (every 10 minutes)
– Buses from MGBS Bus Stop, Hyderabad – 9X, 218D, 187D, 158Y, 218LV, 225D, (every 10 minutes)
– Nearest MMTS stations are ‘Nature Cure Hospital’ station and Begumpet station.
Plenty of hotels in Hyderabad with various cuisines. One should definitely try Hyderabadi Biryani and Irani Chai.
Balkampet Yellamma Temple Timings: Daily 6.00 AM to 1.00 PM and 3:00 PM to 8:00PM
(Image Courtesy: www.hydandseek.wordpress.com)