The festive season of Diwali for this year has already started with several community organisations hosting its regional and religious festivals leading to the big day on November 14.

The Telangana Jagruthi New Zealand has in the past hosted massive Bathukamma celebrations and was able to successfully host another Bathukamma event amid Covid-19 Alert Level 1 conditions.

Hundreds of women in colourful traditional sarees and jewellery and men in vibrant coloured kurtas visited the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall on Dominion Road on Friday, October 23 to celebrate the annual Bathukamma festival.

Bathukamma is a beautiful stack of flowers arranged in a seasonal flowers sequence with most of them having medicinal importance and is also worshipped as Maha Gauri.

Leading the event, Jyoti Mallikarjun, president of Telangana Jagruthi New Zealand welcomed guests at the event that included several hundred men and women, most of whom carried a flower basket dedicated to the prayers and placed in the massive Bathukamma crafted at the centre of the hall.

Attending the event were List MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Hon Consul of India Bhav Dhillon, Jessica Phuang from NZ Police, Roshan Nauhria from Bhartiya Mandir, Vai Ravindran, president of Auckland Tamil Association and Nilima Venkat from Shanti Niwas amongst others.

"Bathukamma celebrations transcend beyond the regional boundaries of Telugu and Telangana community, and we are always joined by representatives of different regional and ethnic communities celebrating the festival of flowers," Jyoti Mallikarjun said.

The event on Friday was a part of the nine days of Navaratri, and during all these nine days small events will be held at different places such as private homes and community centres and some outdoor culminating the event on Durgastami on Saturday, October 24.

During these nine days, men and women fast, communities hold congressional prayers at houses, temples and community centres and Garba or 'kolam' in Telugu is also hosted for the community members.

Bathukamma festival holds a special place in the Telangana community, and tradition, especially for women who call the Bathukamma flowers Maha Gauri or Maa Durga and worship her for a long life for themselves, their families and prosperity for one and all in the community.

"Despite Covid-19 from early this year and different levels of restrictions in Auckland, we had a high footfall of community members from all around Auckland city and hosted a very successful event this year," Ms Mallikarjun said.