Colourful rangolis, bonfires and cultural programmes marked the Pongal celebrations, the three-day harvest festival of the Telugu community here.

There is a sizeable Telugu population in the town and the festival, which began on Thursday, is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. Bhogi is the first day of Pongal and it is observed in the honour of the god of rain Indra. Bonfires are lit a day before and women decorate their houses with colourful rangolis.

People of the community assembled in different places and played dandiya. They celebrate the love between Radha and Krishna with dandiya programmes. It also marks the end of Gobbi, a month-long ritual observed by the womenfolk.

A colourful calendar of Sana Thakurani was also unveiled by the temple committee on the occasion. Several dignitaries, including chairman of Berhampur Development Authority Subash Moharana, corporator Mamata Bisoi and vice-president of state BJD’s women wing T Gopi attended the event.

Sankranti is the second day of the festival on Friday.

Pongali – the food prepared with the newly harvested rice, dal, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar and milk – is prepared at every home on this occasion. "We invoke our forefathers and offer food to them," said Shankar Rao, a businessman.

Kanuma, the last day of festival, is mostly observed by farmers. They clean the cattle shed on this.