Sankranti celebrations began across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana amid on Sunday with Bhogi usual pomp and gaiety.
Villages and towns in both the Telugu states came alive with traditional celebrations to mark the harvest festival
Three-day celebrations kicked off with Bhogi or burning of old and unwanted items like old clothes, mats and broom sticks in the belief that new things will usher into their lives.
People in villages and towns began the day with Bhogi and prayers. Women were seen playing and dancing around the bonfire.
Sankranti is a major festival, which highlights the rich Telugu culture.
Ministers, MPs, state legislators and leaders of all political parties participated in Bhogi in various parts of the two states.
Former vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu celebrated Bhogi along with family members at Swarna Bharat Trust, Atkur, near Vijayawada.
He noted that Bhogi is symbolic of discarding worthless things of the past making new beginnings
Venkaiah Naidu greeted people and hoped that the festival will bring happiness and prosperity to them.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu participated in Bhogi along with Jana Sena Party (JSP) leader and actor Pawan Kalyan in Amaravati.
A festive atmosphere prevailed in residential colonies in Hyderabad and the outskirts besides Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam and other towns and villages in both the states.
Lakhs of people employed in Hyderabad headed to their homes in various districts of both the Telugu states.
State road transport corporations of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh operated special buses and Railways operated special trains to carry people to their destinations from Hyderabad.
Andhra Pradesh Governor S. Abdul Nazeer, Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy greeted people on Sankranti.
Abdul Nazeer wished that the Bhogi festival would burn ‘all negativity and inspire noble thoughts of love, affection & brotherhood in all of us’.
“Happy Pongal and Makar Sankranti festival greetings to all. May this festival of harvest bring in abundance of prosperity, health, happiness, and peace to you all,” tweeted Telangana Governor.
Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy extended greetings to people on the occasion of Sankranti. He expressed the hope that every house will be illuminated with new radiance by taking away the darkness. The CM said that the new journey of the sunshine will usher in a new beginning and the light of the development along with welfare will spread across the state.
The Chief Minister wished people to celebrate the Bhogi with prosperity, Sankranti and Kanuma with abundant happiness. He said that people should celebrate the festival happily by enjoying the freedom in the ‘Praja Palana’ started in the Telangana state. He stated that his government is committed to the welfare of all sections of people and to move the state on the development path.