Gaiety marks Ganesh Chaturthi in Telangana, Andhra

Hyderabad, Sep 17 (IANS) A festive atmosphere prevailed in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Thursday as devotees installed Ganesh idols across the two states to mark Ganesh Chaturthi.

Gaiety marked the first-day of the 11-day long festivities, which began amid tight security in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Thousands of idols of different shapes and sizes were installed at specially decorated ‘pandals’ or makeshift platforms erected by various neighbourhood and traders’ associations.

Several trucks were seen carrying giant idols from Dhoolpet, a market famous for idol-making.

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

E.S.L. Narasimhan, the governor of the two states, along with his wife performed first puja to the tallest Ganesh idol at Khairatabad in Hyderabad. The organisers every year increases the size of the idol. This year it stands at 59-feet. Devotees from twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and surrounding districts thronged the place for puja.

Speaking on the occasion, Narasimhan conveyed his greetings to the people of both the state and expressed his wish for their prosperity.

Organisers said a 6,000-kg laddu would arrive from East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh later in the day for placing it in the hand of the giant idol.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu also greeted people on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Naidu performed puja to the idol installed in TDP office in Hyderabad.

Police have made elaborate security arrangements for the festival. Additional arrangements have been made in sensitive areas in Hyderabad as the Ganesh festival is coinciding with ‘Eid-ul-Azha’, one of the major festivals of Muslims.

While ‘Eid-ul-Azha’ is to be celebrated on September 25, the Ganesh festivities will conclude with a mammoth procession on September 27.

According to police, 30,000 idols will be immersed in Hussainsagar, the lake in the heart of the city, during 11-day fete. Nearly half of them will be immersed on the final day.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy said over 20,000 policemen including the entire city force will be deployed on the final day.

Nine companies of paramilitary forces, police from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and all districts of Telangana will be deployed to maintain peace.

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