Balmuri Kondal Rayudu

Balmuri Kondal Rayudu and his acolyte/lieutenant Bhogam Sani had been from Manal fort in Karimnagar where they lived between AD 1690 and 1720, ultimately ruling surrounding regions for around 27 years. 

They had been resentful of the Mughal empire’s rule and had declared a war against Aurangzeb, who was alive till 1707, and even captured several forts, such as Induru Fort in Nizamabad, from the empire’s control. Belonging to the Velama community, they had wished to protect the local culture and traditions and were afraid that Muslim rule would jeopardise it.

They ruled these areas up until, in 1720, they were defeated by the Nizam, who had declared independence from the Mughal empire, in Pallikonda near present-day Bheemghal town. They had lost their lives and their ‘tale of sacrifice’ has been a part of oral tradition in the area ever since.

After the two men passed away, their bravery went on to inspire other rulers in nearby areas. Seelam Janaki Bai, the only woman ruler of the Sirnapally dynasty in Nizamabad, installed idols of these leaders in her fort. Since then, Rayudu and Sani became inspirational figures with a demigod status.

Centuries passed but the two men remained revered as minor deities. However, things changed in 1953 when Nizamabad town was battered by floods and plagues of Cholera. The town’s people got together and formed a committee consisting of people from all castes. They called it the Sarvasamaj Committee.

They decided to pray to the nine gods of the town and added two more - Balmuri Kondal Rayudu and Bhogam Sani. The committee overlooks the Urapandaga festival in which the idols of these gods, which are freshly made each year, are prayed to. Thriveni revealed these details at a programme held by the Sarvasamaj Committee on Sunday during the Urapandaga celebrations.