Ganesh Chaturthi begins with fervour in Telugu states



Ganesh Chaturthi began with traditional fervour in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday with devotees installing the idols even as rains in several parts of the two states marred the festivities.

The 10-day-long festivities began amid tight security in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as thousands of idols were installed at specially decorated "pandals" or makeshift platforms

The idols of different shapes and sizes were installed in houses, shops, colonies, markets and other public places.

Devotees performed 'puja' to the elephant-headed Hindu god in their houses. The markets were abuzz with activity as men and women bought idols, flowers, leaves, fruits and other puja items.

However, rains in Hyderabad and other places dampened the festive spirit. The sale of idols and other items was affected by the downpour.

Several trucks were seen carrying giant idols from Dhoolpet -- a market famous for idol-making in the old city of Hyderabad. Police imposed traffic restrictions in the area to facilitate smooth transportation of idols.

Like every year, the tallest Ganesh idol in both the Telugu states was installed at Khairatabad in the heart of Hyderabad. Telangana's outgoing Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife Vimla Narasimhan were the first to perform 'puja' to the 61-foot-tall idol.

It was on Sunday that the Centre appointed Tamilisai Soundararajan as the new governor of Telangana.

Narasimhan, who had been performing 'puja' to Khairatabad Ganesh every year for last nine years, said he would continue to visit the place on every Ganesh Chaturthi.

Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who was appointed as the new Governor of Himachal Pradesh, also offered prayers to tallest Ganesh idol.

Telangana's Minister for Animal Husbandry T. Srinivas Yadav and local legislator D. Nagender were among other leaders who participated in the festivities.

Hundreds of devotees thronged the place to offer prayers to Ganesh idol named 'Dwadashaditya' with 12 heads and 24 hands. It is also adorned with 12 snakes.

The organizing committee of the tallest idol has also made 750-kg 'laddu' as 'prasadam'. 

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, along with his family members, performed Ganesh puja at Pragati Bhavan, his official residence, to mark the occasion.

Rao, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Governor Narasimhan and Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan greeted people on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Special puja programmes were also organised in the offices of political parties in Hyderabad.

An estimated 30,000 idols will be immersed in Hussainsagar, the lake in the heart of the city, during the 10-day fete. Nearly half of them will be immersed on the final day -- September 12.

Over 20,000 policemen and personnel from paramilitary forces will be deployed in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad to maintain law and order during the festival.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in the communally-sensitive old city of Hyderabad.IANS