Pearl traders in Old City owe to this temple

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 The septuagenarian, who has been serving the temple for years, said this was how the name of ‘City of Pearls’ came into being. “This is the only historic reason behind this name, otherwise there is no possibility of a city being called like this, which is away from the sea,” he added. — DC Image/Deepak Deshpande

HYDERABAD: As the mighty Mahankali temple at Lal Darwaza is all set to celebrate Bonalu on a grand scale, devotees and organisers are in high spirits. It is believed that the first bonam offered to Mahankali in this temple with natural pearls more than a century ago, encouraged several jewellers to establish their shops around Charminar.    

The Mahankali temple’s significance grew following the 1908 Musi floods, when bonam was offered for the first time at the temple so that water receded and there would not be more loss of lives. “When the historical flood hit the city, Prime Minister of Hyderabad Raja Kishan Prasad suggested that bonam be offered to the Goddess. It was then the Nizam directed to carry out rituals as per the Hindu tradition, where pearls in a silver chata were offered along with other items and later immersed in the Musi river. This was how the water levels receded. The businessmen who came to know about it, later started business around Charminar area,” explained G. Mahesh Goud, chief advisor of Lal Darwaza Simhavahini Sri Mahankali Temple Committee.   

The septuagenarian, who has been serving the temple for years, said this was how the name of ‘City of Pearls’ came into being. “This is the only historic reason behind this name, otherwise there is no possibility of a city being called like this, which is away from the sea,” he added.

The Mahankali Temple is amongst the few temples which, according to Mahesh Goud, continued with animal sacrifices involving bovines the blood of which was applied all over the body by devotees. “This was only stopped after 1955 following intervention of reformers. The sacrifice of animals was replaced by offering of pumpkin (gummadikaya),” he added.