POTHARAJUS add colour,vigour and vitality to Bonalu festivities.
Today Sri Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad wears a festive look with all ‘gullies’ leading to its sacred portals.
Smeared with turmeric all over the body and vermilion on their foreheads, Potharajus typically begin the procession with dance, often whip lashing themselves and others who come within their periphery. If a Potharaju’s whip even skims past you it is considered auspicious.
You need not be a believer but the gaiety, devotion,discipline,faith,music and joy will immerse you in the colorful cauldron that is India.
Here’s some more info on Potharajus.
“Potharaju, the brother of Mother Goddess, is represented in the procession by a well-built, bare-bodied man, wearing a small tightly draped red dhoti and bells on his ankles.
He always dances before the Palaharam Bandi, the procession.
He is considered the initiator of the festivities and the protector of the community.
He leads the tranced female dancers who are under spell of the Mother Goddess (known as shigam) to the temple, with lashing whips and emerald neem leaves (margosa) tied around their waists, accompanied by trumpets and drums.”