Experience the Vibrant Culture of Hyderabad through its Festivals and Events (2023)
Hyderabad is big on cultural diversities, and nothing can counter question this fact. Hyderabad, or as they lovingly call it, the ‘City of Nizams’, has some or other celebrations throughout the year. The various festivals and events in Hyderabad bring together different religions and communities in one place. The joyous annual journey in Hyderabad is truly mesmerizing.
Hyderabad is where cultures, ethnicity, and religion melt and mold into one human. Nothing can be more evident than Hyderabadi festivals, where you can witness ‘Akhand Bharat’ (Undivided India). The Hyderabadi culture is a mix of Hinduism and Islam; therefore, events and festivals are focused on these two.
Experience the Vibrant Culture of Hyderabad Through its Festivals and Events
Millions of Hyderabadis cheer for their roots and have fun to the extreme.
1. Bangaru Bathukamma Uyyalo
Someone who loves colors and culture should definitely attend the Bangaru Bathukamma Uyyalo in Hyderabad. Bangaru Bathukamma Uyyalo is a Telangana State Culture in which women gather and celebrate beautifully. It is basically a flower festival celebrated each year as per the Sathavahana calendar. It usually comes during the month of October-November for nine days starting on Pitru Amavasya.
The Festival starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and comes to its climax on Saddula Bathukamma or Pedda Bathukamma. During this celebration of feminism, Telangana women dress up beautifully in traditional sarees and jewelry. Small girls wear Langa-Oni/Half-Sarees/Lehenga Choli and beautiful traditional jewelry. Though men do not have any major part in the celebration, brothers bring flowers to mothers and sisters for doing Bathukamma. As those beautifully dressed women carry the Bathukamma to the lake to immerse it, the sight is beautiful to behold.
2. The Deccan Festival
The Deccan Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Hyderabad. It is by far one of the most vibrant and enjoyable festivals in Telangana. Every year, the ‘City of Nizams’ celebrates the Deccan Festival for five days. The Tourism Department of Andhra Pradesh organizes Deccan Festival every year during the month of February or March. This 5-day long Festival echoes authentic Hyderabadi culture along with the culture and tradition of the Deccan region. It is when both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh locals, as well as visitors come alive with a riot of music, food, spices, dance, colors, and fairs.
The Deccan Festival is an old tradition of Hyderabad. When the event shines, one can enjoy Gazal nights, Qawwalis, Mushairas, Andhra, and Hyderabadi cuisines and more. The food festival during the 5-day Deccan celebration is something truly enjoyable. Try their authentic Kaache Ghost Ki Biryani (Raw Mutton Biryani), Halim, Osmania Biscuit, Irani Chai, Khubani ka Meetha and a lot more. It is also one fine time to shop for pearl jewelry and traditional Nizam-style clothes, footwear, and accessories.
3. Urs At Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia
The Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah in Hyderabad organizes Urs every year, gathering thousands of local as well as visiting Islam followers. Urs is basically the death anniversary of Delhi’s prominent Sufi mystic, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Wondering why a celebration on Death Anniversary? Well, in the Sufi culture, death is celebrated as similarly as someone’s wedding anniversary. It is named Urs or Visal since Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s death is considered the most mystical merging with the Divine.
Urs celebration features Islamic and Sufi musical evenings, food spread, and bazaars. Dargahs during this time attract thousands of people, regardless of their religious beliefs. However, the crowd is mainly from the Islamic religion. Urs, in fact, is one of the most famous Islamic festivals around the world.
4. Lumbini Festival
Lumbini Festival is another annual celebration in Nagarjunasagar in Hyderabad. Lumbini in Nepal is where Gautam Buddha was born. It is one of the greatest Buddhist pilgrimage sites one can ever visit. In order to relieve the Heritage of Buddhism Lumbini Festival is celebrated in various parts of the world, including Hyderabad. The Festival is organized by the Department of Tourism of the Government of Telangana annually for three days. It is celebrated in the month of December from Friday to Sunday.
The Festival’s grandness and the weekend draw a considerable crowd. However, the exact dates of the Lumbini Festival are tentative. The major highlight of the Festival is the Monolith Buddha Statue, the largest single rock statue of Buddha in the whole wide world. The life-changing Buddha preachings during the event inspired young minds and reformed their life forever. Not only Hyderabad but it is also celebrated at the Port of Visakhapatnam.
Bonalu is a traditional annual celebration in Hyderabad. This Telangana Hindu event also gets organized in Secunderabad, Hyderabad’s twin city. Bonalu celebration is focused on Goddess Mahakali and is all about special Poojas (Prayers). The ceremonies are performed for Yellamma, which is another religious form of Goddess Mahakali. The celebration comes annually during the month of July or/and August, ideally in the Hindu month of Ashada Masam.
Bonalu is celebrated in various parts of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on a small or large scale. Local women dress up in traditional sarees and jewelry to take part in the celebration.
During the festival, Women carry Bonalu, and this religious site is to be seen. As women walk towards the temple, people pour water on their feet to pacify the aggressive spirit of the goddess. If not this way, locals prepare a feast at their home and offer it to the goddess and guests. It is basically a non-vegetarian feast consisting of the meat of a goat or a rooster. Earlier, they used to sacrifice a male buffalo; however, the traditions have changed, and today a rooster is sacrificed. Animal sacrificing is a common practice of offering in Hindu traditions.
6. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is a famous Indian festive and is celebrated widely all across Hyderabad. This traditional and cultural occasion falls every year in the month of August or September. Also known as Sakat Chauth, this Festival is celebrated as the homecoming of Lord Ganesha. Throughout the city, Pandals with a large Lord Ganesha idol, pretty decoration, and a lavish Pooja (prayer) are setup. Not only in the outdoors, but people bring Lord Ganesha’s idol to their homes, and enjoy the festivities.
Ganesh Chaturthi is usually a 3 to 11 days festival where people can keep Lord’s idol for as many days as they want. At the end of the celebration, the Lord Ganesha idol is immersed in water with music, dance, colors, and a truly mesmerizing celebration. Some of the popular places to attend the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad includes:
- Khairatabad: It is where some of the world’s largest Lord Ganesha Idols are brought. Even the Laddo (Sweet) offering is huge (once was 6000 Kgs in weight)
- Balapur: It is popular for its Laddo auction.
- Old City (Gowlipura): It is one of the oldest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Hyderabad.
- Durgam Cheruvu: (Hitech City)
30.13% of the total Hyderabad population is Islamic, and therefore Muslim festivals are celebrated quite lavishly here. Hyderabad, the ‘City of Nizams’, has quite a lot of religious events, and Ramzan is the grandest of them. Even before Ramzan arrives, every street in Hyderabad comes alive with good food, shiny clothing, jewelry, and a lot more. Every evening during Ramazan, Muslim men gather at Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad and offer Namaaz (Prayer). On Friday, the rush at Mecca Masjid is on another level.
Once the long Ramzan month ends, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, also known as Mithi Eid, a three-day long festival. Muslim households during this time were full of non-vegetarian meals, fried snacks, dahi vada, haleem, and the very special Sheer Khorma (Sweet Vermicelli). Families celebrate, invite guests and distribute to the needy. It is when the entire Muslim community comes together and celebrates their happiness.
Another Popular Eid is Eid al-Adha, the four-day long festival celebration. This Eid is celebrated to remember and honor the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail. Ibrahim did so in obedience to the command of Allah, and since then, a goat has been sacrificed at every Muslim household during the celebration. This Feast of the Sacrifice is the larger of the two Eids and is celebrated all across Hyderabad. If you happen to visit Charminar or its surrounding during Eid al-Adha, you are in a treat for an authentic Hyderabadi non-vegetarian feast.
Ugadi or Samvatsarādi is Hindu New Year according to the religious calendar. This Festival is widely celebrated in the States of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and various other Indian regions. It is quite a popular draw in the city of Hyderabad since it has a special significance amongst Hindu religious followers. Celebrating Ugadi with great fanfare, people decorate their houses using mango leaves and marigold flowers. According to different religious terminologies, on the day of Ugadi, Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe, began the creation of everything that exists today.
For welcoming the Ugadi vibes, preparation begins a week earlier. People clean their houses, bring new clothes, and add different colors to their surroundings. Religious zeal and social merriment are to be seen in every other Hindu household. Ugadi, though isn’t grandly celebrated in public venues, but if you happen to visit a local household, you can enjoy its charm. Ugadi is also celebrated as Gudi Padwa in Maharastra, Cheti Chand in Sindhis, and Sajibu Nongma Panba in Manipuris.