The Telangana government, which last week ended all Covid lockdown restrictions, has decided to celebrate Bonalu - a traditional festival where Goddess Mahakali is worshipped - in a grand way even as the country is emerging out of a second Covid wave and with experts warning about an inevitable third wave of infections.
Spread over a few weeks, women gather at temples, make offerings of food, flowers to Goddess Mahakali and dance together in a public celebration during this festival.
Bonalu was suspended last year because of Covid restrictions.
A preparatory meeting will happen on June 25 with officials and departments concerned, said Minister Srinivas Yadav, adding Rs 15 crore has been sanctioned to improve facilities at temples where Bonalu will be celebrated.
"Gold bonam (offering) will be made to the Goddess to save people from the corona pandemic,'' the Minister said.
In Golconda, Bonalu will be celebrated on July 11, followed by Secunderabad on July 25 and Hyderabad on August 1.
The state government will attempt to showcase Telangana culture through multiple programs, said the Minister.
Health experts have warned against such gatherings, saying mass celebrations are an invitation to disaster.