Hyderabad:Thousands of devotees thronged the Ujjaini Mahankali temple at Secunderabad as the two-day annual Bonalu festival, a thanksgiving ritual to Goddess Mahankali for fulfilment of their vows.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao offered prayers to the deity.

State Ministers Talasani Srinivasa Yadav and A Indrakaran Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Bandaru Dattatraya, Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) chief M Kodandaram were also among those who offered prayers.

An estimated three to four lakh devotees are expected to visit the temple during the two-days, officials said.

Telangana government had accorded the status of "state festival" to Bonalu after the formation of the new state in June 2014.

Bonalu is an annual festival celebrated in the twin cities of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and parts of Telangana as a thanksgiving to Goddess Mahankali for fulfilment of vows.

Women, attired in colourful robes, carry the 'Bonalu' (decorated pots containing cooked rice mixed with jaggery and curd) on their heads to the temple for offering them to the Goddess.

Bonalu is celebrated to ward off diseases and usher in good health, peace and prosperity. PTI

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