Inavolu Mallanna Jathara is the annual festival held at Inavolu Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple in Telangana. The fair and festival at this ancient Shiva temple lasts for 3 months. In 2018, the Inavolu Mallanna Jathara begins on January 14 and concludes on April 8. The most important dates are January 14 and January 15, 2018.
The Jathara mainly celebrates the celestial wedding of the presiding deity Mallikarjuna Swamy with his consorts Golla Kethamma and Balija Medalamma.
Carrying Bonam on the first day of the festival is considered highly meritorious. People fulfill numerous vows during the period.
Bandari (turmeric) is the main offering to the deity. Devotees also offer earthen pots with newly harvested rice cooked with milk and jaggery.
Thousands of people from villages across the region and far off places participate in the annual jatara.
During the festival several men and women could be seen dancing in trance chanting weird incantations as if a deity has possessed them. Men dress up as Potharaju – men in knickers and bare chest whipping and dancing rhythmically to the percussion instruments. Women follow Potharaju carrying Bonams – decorated mud pots with offering to the deity.
A unique feature of Inavolu Mallanna Jathara is that devotees come and raise a temporary shelter in and around the temple. They draw peculiar patterns with rangoli or colors and this is known as patnam. They place their offering – rice cooked with fresh paddy harvested in the season, jaggery and milk – on the patnam.
Inavolu, a sleepy village, turns into a small town during the Jathara – scores of shops selling anything and everything sprung up during the period.