Medak Culture

Medak, a small town tucked in the heart of vast Telangana stands out for its vibrant culture and glorious past. Deeply rooted in tradition, Medak is where you can explore Telangana’s unique and colorful cultural traits. The  language and religion of the people of Medak, their festivals and fairs, various visual and performing art forms, the way they dress and the cuisine they savor, all speak of their deep attachment to their cultural heritage. It’s a place, where festivals are celebrated with remarkable fervor despite poverty and hardship, men and women adorn themselves in colorful, traditional attire to complement the lush surroundings around them, people loves to beautify their homes with traditional designs, children are encouraged to learn traditional music and dance forms from an early age.

As you marvel through the dusty alleys of Medak town, you will come to witness a slow-paced lifestyle that no doubt lacks the gloss of the big cities but vibrant and cheerful in its own unique ways. It is hard not to notice the Persian influence on the art, culture and way of life in Medak. The custom and cultural traits that Mughals and Nizams contributed to the Medak society through the course of history, eventually got mixed up with dominantly Telugu traditions to create a rich culture, unique of the land of Telangana. The region’s art and architecture, language and social customs, festivals and fairs, literature and music, all reflect a marriage between the dominantly South Indian customs and Persian cultural traits.

Art and Craft of Medak

As you roam around the market area of the small town, a burst of color will leave you dazed.  From colorful toys to multicolored jewelries, from glistening brass metal artifacts to artistic wall hangings—the things on the display are plain enticing. While the roots of Medak art and architecture are to be traced in the Kakatya Dynasty, the Persian influence brought in by Mughals and Nizams gave it a new dimension.

A region’s artifacts are reflective of the creativity and skills of the people native to that  particular region. The wood, stone and silver wares that you find in the shops across Medak will amaze you with their intricate designs, the aesthetic use of ethnic patterns and motifs and the level of skills and expertise involved in the casting and oxidizing, engraving and inlaying.

Scroll painting, dokra artifacts, Bidri jewelries, Banjara fabrics embroidered with mirrors, beads etc, and lacquer wares are some of the crafts found in Medak. 

lacquerwareMedak is particularly known for lacquer ware. Wooden toys, jewelries and jewelry boxes, puppets and even furniture are made with wood and then lacquer is applied on the product, mostly by hand and sometimes by machine. The lacquer jewelries are top draw among the tourists. No woman can possibly resist the temptation of adorning themselves with these colorful jewelries that get some extra embellishments from colorful beads, and stones.

dokra.jpgDokra craft, which the entire Telangana region is famous for, involves the creation of birds, animals and human figurines with brass. Although Telangana’s Adilabad district is the main center of Dokra craft, there are artisans in Medak, who are engaged in Dokara craft for generations. Apart from their bright hues and amazing designs, one of the amazing feature of Dokra craft is, the pieces are crafted out of a single piece of metal and have no joints.

Just like the other parts of Telangana, there are some artisan families engaged in Bidri craft. Bidri craft, which derives its name from Bidar(Karnataka), demands high level of expertise in casting and engraving, as this craft involves engraving silver on an alloy of Copper and Zinc called Gunmetal.

At home or beyond, the exquisite Medak crafts enjoy high market demands. The tourists are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking up memorabilia. Be it a colorful wooden toy or an exquisite dokra figurine, a nakashi wall hanging or some lacquer bangles—these beautiful craftworks will always be a treasured part of your living room showcase or jewelry wardrobe and remind you of some happy moments spent in this quaint town.

Religion and Language in Medak

A small town tucked in the interior of the state of Telangana, Medak demonstrates the multi-religion spirit of India. Major religion practiced by the people of Medak is Hinduism, followed by Islam. A sizeable portion of the population practices Christianity. Centuries back, Medak used to be a prominent seat of Buddhism,  as is evident from the archeological excavations of Nagarjunakonda, a place near to Medak.

As in the entire state of Telangana, so in Medak, Telugu is the major language. Over 70 percent of the population speaks Telugu. But the language here is slightly different from that spoken in Andhra Pradesh and is characterized by clear dialectical differences.

Urdu is the second most widely spoken language in Medak. This language is spoken by a little over 10 percent of the population.

The rest of the population speaks other languages including Hindi and otherSouth Indian languages.

Costumes of Medak

Your traditional wardrobe is never complete without a gorgeous Pochampally. The pochampally silk, pochampally handloom and Pochampally ikkat are three varieties that every saree-loving woman yearns to possess. Telangana is the birthplace of this bright hued material and many weavers are based in Nalgonda district near to Medak. The weavers of this region are known for their penchant for traditional cloth-dying methods. Thanks to its proximity to rich cotton producing pocket and the weavers’ skill at making vegetative dye from plant extracts, turned the places in the vicinity of Medak into one of the country’s major saree-producing centers.

pochampalli-sari


As you roam around the town, you will find the women of different age groups thronging the temples and markets in bright-hued cotton handloom sarees. In local language these sarees are called Cheera. The unmarried girls traditionally wear Langa Oni and Parikini. Many young girls these days choose to wear salwar kameez.

In Medak, men are mostly seen in Dhoti or pancha and Lungi, covering the lower parts of the body. For the upper part of the body, they wear Uttareeyam or Pai. The attires like kurta, Jubba and sherwani are mostly reserved for the special occasions.

Food in Medak

Your Medak visit will remain incomplete without tasting some local foods. The foods available here carry the signature style of Telangana cuisine, which is essentially hot and spicy. Just like its art and architecture, the region’s cuisine too combines the local and Persian flavors. A variety of aromatic herbs and spices - preferably fresh - bring about the delectable flavors of Telugu, Mughlai, Maratha and Persian cuisines. As in the rest of South India, coconut and tamarind occupy a dominant position in Medak cuisine.  The use of sesame seeds and peanuts are also indicative of the Telugu influence. Lot of importance is attached to slow cooking over the right temperature, a type of cooking style known as “Dum Pukht” and clearly speaks of the Mughal influence.

Restaurants in Medak

Forget your diet as long as you are in Medak and satiate your taste buds with some of the Telengana delicacies available in innumerable big and small eateries in Medak and in its vicinity. Here is a list to eateries to help you plan out your gastronomic adventure.

Abhi Swagath Hotel
Address: Medak-Yellareddy Road, Medak Near Medak Bus Stand

Hyderabad Bawarchi Biryani
Siddipet, Medak

Hyderabad Spice
Siddipet, Medak
 
Hyderabad Bawarchi Biryani
Teegul, Medak

Hi Way Bawarchi Restaurant

Sirigiripally, Medak

J N Tea Point & Mess
Pregnapur, Medak

My Friend Green Bawarchi Family Restaurant
Siddipet, Medak

New Grand Hotel
Siddipet, Medak
Multi Cuisine Restaurant

New Fayoz Hotel
Siddipet, Medak

New Bawarchi Family Restaurant
Akkaram, Medak

Swagat Restaurant
Address:Thimmaipally, Medak

Star Bawarchi
Siddipet, Medak

Music and Dance in Medak


Music and dance is a big part of Medak culture. The tribal groups take to the street during festival times, entertaining people with their distinctive music and dance forms. In the average household, classical music and dance forms lessons are integral part of a child’s upbringing.

Folk Dances in Medak

During Deepavali and harvest festivals, the tribal troops start touring various Telangana districts in colorful costumes and chunky white metal jewelries. Dhimsa, Gusadi and Lambadi are some of the most popular tribal dance forms that you can witness in Medak during the festival times.

The Dandari dance troupes belong to Raj Gond tribe. Each troupe comprises 20-40 members. Gusadi is a small troupe comprising of not more than five members.  Guseda dance is performed during the fourteen days between the full moon day after Navratri and Deepawali. The tribal performers in colorful attire dancing on to the beats of Gumela, is gorgeous and spectacular.

Lambadi dances are performed by a semi-nomadic tribe. Lambadis are also called  Banjaras or Sugalis. Lambadi dance is closely linked with various phases of agriculture including sowing, planting and harvesting.

Classical Dances of Medak

Kuchipudi

kuchipudi
Though Kuchipudi was born in a village called Kuchelapuram in Andhra Pradesh, it was the patronization from the Qutab Shai rulers,that helped this dance form flourish in Telangana and later on throughout South India. The dance form is characterized by dramatic narrative graceful movements.

Perini Sivatandavam


shivatandavamThe recent times have witnessed the revival of an ancient dance form called Perini Sivatandavam or Perini Thandavam. Again born out of the patronization of Kakatya rulers, this dance form was originated as a dance form of the warriors, hencely mostly performed by the male dancers.  The dance form is dedicated to supreme dancer, Lord Shiva and performed to invoke inspiration (prerna) prior to any battle. The revival of this ancient dance form has made it popular over the entire Telangana, including Medak.

Music in Medak

Music is deeply embedded in Telangana culture and Medak is no exception. Whether during the times of festivities or through the course of daily life, you will rarely find these simple folks devoid with their music. From highly acclaimed classical Karnatic pieces to rhythmic folk songs performed by the villagers, the music in this part of Telangana offers an immersive experience to the audience. In various pockets of Medak, you will come across the people humming the Kancherla Gopanna compositions. Kancherla Gopanna or  Bhakta Ramadasu dasu was a 17th-century composer of Carnatic music. He was a music composure and lyricist in one and his songs were dedicated to Lord Rama.

The place has a rich heritage of folk songs as well. In fact, folk songs played a significant role toward the success of the Statehood movement. In order to connect with the mass at the grass root levels, the cultural events called “Dhoom Dham” were organized and folk songs were the most vital part of these road shows.

Telangana’s rich ballad tradition finds expression through Oggukatha. A part of Medak’s folk culture, Oggukatha is performed by the Yadav community across Medak and other Telangana districts.   These ballad songs are rendered in praise of the Hindu gods Mallana, Beerappa and Yellamma. The Yadavs travel from place to place, singing these ballad songs.

Drama

The ballads of Oggukatha or Oggu Kathalu have great dramatic elements. The singers perform the roles of two characters and the praise of the god is sung through a dramatized musical conversation between the two.

Gollu Sudhi  and Gotralu are two traditional drama forms that are mostly performed by the nomads. Traditionally theses two drama forms involved the humorous presentation of social issues. The performance also used to provide the clue to the best possible resolution of the problem. In the latter 20th century, all the traditional theater formes merged with each other, giving birth to new form. Eventually, the “dhoom dham” form was born. The Dhoom Dham form of street theaters were mostly themed on the issues of exploitation and people’s struggle against them.

Festivals in Medak


A few tourist spots can not define a place properly. A traveler should try to steal a glance into the life and culture of the people residing therein. Break into dancing gigs with the local people and share their joy as they celebrate their festivals, stand in queues and bargain with the shopkeepers for the artifacts on offer, enjoy the local food at a village food vendor’s or photograph the unknown performers from the rural India, as they perform the ancient art forms right on the dusty streets of Medak!   Visit Medak during the festivals, be a part of the cultural activities, enjoy an immersive experience ---discover the soul of this charming town.

In the absence of any significant economic progress and with slow placed lifestyle, Medak is apparently, just another sleepy small town that lacks the gloss and glamour found in the shinier parts of India.  But there is something special about Medak that distinguishes it from many of its sister towns all over India and that is its rich cultural heritage. The town people’s deep attachment to tradition gets reflected in a variety of ways, with festivals being one of the major among them.

The sleepy town and all its historic ruins, ancient temples and even its lakes and forests come alive during the festival days, as if to transport the spectators back in history in a speedy flash back through centuries. The festive fervor recreate the same ambience that an economically prosperous and politically important Medak used to enjoy under the Kakatya rulers and later on under the Qutub Shahi rulers.

A visit to Medak during festivals gives you the opportunity to delve into rich culture and discover how tradition-bound people lived centuries ago in this part of the world!

Yedupayala Durga Yathra

yedupayala templeThe 12 century Yedupayala Temple, dedicated to Goddess Vana Durga hosts the region’s one of the biggest fairs in February to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri. A large number of devotees gather in Medak from the neighboring states, as well as from other parts of India to take holy dip into the confluence of seven streams of Manjeera River. Shiva Parvati Kalyanam
continues for thee days.


yedupayala dipOver thirty lakhs of devotees reportedly visit the temple during Mahashivaratri Yatra. The devotees are advised to carry their own food and water. During the Yatra, the government arrange for special buses. In addition autos are available from the main road of Medak up to the main temple complex.

Bonalu

Bonalu festival is celebrated with much fanfare across Telengana. Celebrated in the months of July and August, Bonalu celebrations are is dedicated to Mahakali, The Mother Goddess. During the days of Nizams, Bonalu was celebrated with extra ordinary grandeur. Nizams themselves took part in the celebration.

The tradition of Bonalu started as a way of thanksgiving to the mother Goddess, who was believed to have saved the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad from the plague epidemic.

bonalu-processionThe festival is named after Bonalu, the specially cooked rice, which is offered to the Goddess. The sweetened rice is cooked in milk and is offered to mother Goddess in decorated earthen vessels. The vessels are covered with neem branches on the top and decorated with traditional designs created with turmeric and vermillion. The people carry the vessels on their heads to the temples, where the rice is offered to the deity. The devotees walk to the temple in procession, with drummers and traditional dancers accompanying them to the temple.  After offering prayers at the temple, the procession covers the entire town

The festival brings about a burst of color on the road, with the women wearing traditional silk sarees and flaunting traditional jewelry. Dancing with balancing pots is one of the exciting parts of the celebration. Dances are performed to the beats of drums and decorative paper temples called Thottela is offered to the goddess by the devotees.

bonalu_pothurajuOne of the interesting features of the Bonalu procession is the depiction of Pothuraju, the brother of Mother Goddess. The man representing Pothuraju is clad in a short red dhoti and smeared all over with vermillion and turmeric. With a big pot over his head, the man keeps the onlookers entertained with his amazing balancing dance. He leads the procession with female dancers following him.

On the top of the procession, you will find a priest carrying Ghatam or a copper pot. The procession concludes with immersion of ghatam in water.

But the most exciting part of the festival is Rangam---a fortune telling event, in which a woman foretells what the year ahead has in store. The woman is supposedly under spell and stands atop a water-filled pot.  The ritual is performed by the women from a particular family and local people have lot of faith in the predictions made at Rangam.

Bathukamma

bothukamma

Barely a month passes by when the Medak people are once again up to the preparation for the celebration of their next big festival, Bathukamma. Women once again take the center stage in this festival or panduga that falls in Bhadrapada Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya (the dark fortninght of September-October), as per lunar calendar. The celebration continues for nine days during Durga Navratri.

making bothukammaThe festival of Bathukamma celebrates the creative spirit in every woman. A conical flower pot is created using seven layers of an assortment of seasonal flowers. The Goddess Maha Gauri is worshipped in form of Bathukamma. In order to prepare Bhatukamma, the women first cut the flowers in size and then arrange them in layers on a wide plate called Thambalam. A lotus along with Guramma (a symbol of Gowri made of turmeric) is placed on the top of the mound. The women wearing traditional sari and heavy jewelries complete the picture of this traditional festival.

In the evening, all the women of a locality assemble in an open space. The women form a circle around their flower decorations and sing folk song in unison. They seek prosperity, health and happinessfor their respective families as they revolve round the Bhatukammas, clapping their hands and matching steps to the song. 

Festivals are the preserver of the art and culture of that region. As for Medak, the place is immersed into grandeur and vibrancy during the festivals. Visit Medak during festivities and be a part of all the fun, noise and even chaos coming with it.


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