Category Archives: Ganesh Festival in Hyderabad
Hundreds of devotees performed ‘puja’ in Ganesh temples and to idols installed at specially decorated ‘pandals’ or makeshift platforms erected by various neighbourhood and traders’ associations.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife performed ‘puja’ to the huge idol installed at Khairatabad near Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor.
A large number of devotees including VIPs made a beeline for worship at over 50-feet-long idol, the tallest in the city, at Khairatabad.
The governor said he prayed for the happiness and prosperity of people of both the Telugu states.
This is the first Ganesh Chaturthi after bifurcation of the state. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu offered puja at Telugu Desam Party (TDP) headquarters in Hyderabad. He wished for the well-being and development of people of both the states. TDP leaders from both the regions greeted Naidu.
According to Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, over 50,000 idols have been installed in and around Hyderabad for the 11-day long festival this year. This is in addition to small idols installed in apartments and individual houses.
The idols of different sizes, shapes, colours and in myriad forms have been installed on streets in major markets and residential localities across twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Hundreds of trucks and smaller vehicles were seen carrying the idols from Dhoolpet area to their destinations. The devotees were doing the last minute shopping for marigold flowers, leaves and other materials for puja.
The sweet shops and the supermarkets were also teeming with people, buying sweets and groceries for the festival.
Police have made massive security arrangements for the festival, especially in the communally sensitive old city. Over 15,000 policemen and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the state capital.
The festival will conclude with a mammoth procession Sep 8 when thousand of idols will be immersed in Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city.
The festival also began in other parts of Telangana with people installing idols at homes and on streets.
The festival is celebrated on a massive scale in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana but is a low-key affair in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
For Bal Yuva Mandal in Goshamahal that installs unique idols every year, this year it’s a Ganesha made of dry fruits. In all, about 4 kg of cashew nuts, 4 kg of almonds, 4 kg of pistachio nuts, 3 kg of walnut, 5 kg of raisins, 3 kg of cardamom, half a kilogramme of cloves and other commodities have been used for making the idol
For most visitors to Goshamahal this Vinayaka Chaturthi season, not to speak of those living in the vicinity, a halt at Bal Yuva Mandal’s pandal in Hindi Nagar is part of their schedule. The divine charm that’s attracting devotees by the hordes is the unique Ganesha idol, made of 38 kg of dry fruits and other commodities.
In all, about 4 kg of cashew nuts, 4 kg of almonds, 4 kg of pistachio nuts, 3 kg of walnut, 5 kg of raisins, 3 kg of cardamom, half a kilogramme of cloves and other commodities have been used for making the idol. It took about 40 days for the eight-member group of youngsters aged between 18 and 22 years to make the idol, which stands over six feet in height. The best thing about the idol is, it is made of clay and the group has fixed the dry fruits and spices using adhesive.
“We placed an order for the idol two months before the festival with an idol maker in Dhoolpet. It was painted white and we fixed the dry fruits and spices on the idol’s surface,” explains Akash Agarwal, founder of Bal Yuva Mandal.
It’s been just four years since the association was formed and it has already made a mark in the locality by installing unique idols. “Earlier we had installed Ganesha idols made of pearls and coins. This year we got over 50,000 ‘likes’ for the dry fruit Ganesha on Facebook,” claims Mr. Agarwal.
This year, the association is organising an art exhibition of hand paintings of 11 different Ganesha idols. Mandal members are planning to immerse the idol along with the dry fruits in Hussainsagar on September 18, he adds.
If the popular Khairatabad Ganesha in Hyderabad stands at 58 ft, the 86-ft Dondaparthy Ganesha in the city towers over every other idol in the state. The Dondaparthy Ganesh, this time in Krishna avatar playing flute, isn’t going to give up the title of being the tallest idol any time soon, claim the organisers. Appal Raju of the organising committee said that it took them a month to prepare the gigantic idol. “Artistes from Kharagpur toiled hard to give finishing touches to the idol. It’s going to be the biggest crowd puller in the city, drawing 50,000-70,000 enthusiasts. We will also auction the Ganesha prasadam (108-kg laddu) for charity,” he said.
More than 2,000 big and small idols are being installed this time at various pandals with the organisers battling it out to come up with innovative ideas. Notable among them are the ‘bangle Vinayaka, ‘eega Vinayaka, spiderman and Krishna Vinayaka, Ganesha in train and another one playing chess and another a green Ganesha.
The gold and silver merchants’ association’s youth Vinayaka utsava committee set up a Ganesha made of one lakh colourful glass bangles near Kurupa market. Ranga Rao, chairman of the utsava committee, said that 25 artistes from Chirala prepared this special Ganesha in 10 days. “We got the bangles from Kolkata. It’s definitely going to be cynosure of all eyes this year,” he claimed.
Leaving no stone unturned to woo the 600-odd Maharashtrian families settled in the city, the Maharashtra Mandali has set up its own pandal. “We miss the festivities back home in Mumbai and Pune but we try to make up by having our own Vinayaka pandal. Gujarati and Bengali communities also participate in the celebrations,” said Mahadeo Rao Shinde, president of Maharashtra Mandali.
As the city gears up to celebrate Ganesha festival, an idol of the deity, made by car designer K Sudhakar from automobile parts, is being touted as a major attraction.
Sudhakar has put together gears, rings, chains, clutch plates, petrol tank, shock absorbers, headlights, wheels, silencer pipe and bearings to erect the six-and-a-half foot tall idol.
Mounted on a mechanised mouse, the idol’s head is made of headlamps, wheel and gears, while Sudhakar has used bearings for the eyes and bolts for tusks. The trunk is made of a silencer pipe, while the midriff is the petrol tank of a motor cycle. The hands are made of silencer pipes and springs and the legs of shock absorbers, while the garland is a motorcycle chain.
The idol has been put on display at the Sudha Cars Museum, the first and only handmade “Wacky Car” museum in the world, near the Nehru Zoological Park here. The initiative is a brainchild of Sudhakar, who had entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the maker of the world’s largest tri-cycle.
Sudhakar has designed about 150 cars, like “Go Karts,” “Dune Buggies,” “Wacky Cars,” “Brinjal Car,” “Camera Car,” “Cricket Ball Car,” “Shivling Car,” “Cup & Saucer Car,” “Helmet Car,” “Computer Car,” “Double Bed Car,” “Football Car,” and the list goes on.
He has recreated cars and bus models popular in the early 20th century, besides 30 different models of cycles, including the smallest bicycle in India, around six inches high.
Sudhakar has also done his bit to promote awareness on AIDS by making a motor cycle in the shape of a condom. He also made a “Cricket Ball Car” to cheer the Indian cricket team for the 2003 World Cup and a “Football Car” to commemorate the 2006 Football World Cup, held at Germany.
His creations are mostly made out of scrap. Sudhakar has given live demonstration of these vehicles to mark the traffic safety week at Tank Bund and Necklace Road in the city, for five consecutive years.
At present, he is designing an animal park, which would have life-size mechanised walking animals. Prototypes of an elephant and a wild boar has already been developed.
The city’s water bodies may get a significantly lesser dose of toxic paint and Plaster of Paris this Ganesh Chaturthi as the number of people opting for eco-friendly idols has gone up going by the brisk sales of such idols. In the last three years, the increase in demand for these idols has resulted in more craftsmen from West Bengal, who are known for their sand and clay work, coming down to the city every year during this season. With the festival fast approaching, these idol makers are busy applying the final touches to their creations.
“In the past few years, business has improved here as people are now more aware about the environment. Three years ago, selling our stock was a herculean task, but this time the demand is much more than the total number of idols being made,” said Lakshmi Narayan, a seller at Chaderghat who has been in the business for around 10 years.
Three years ago, there were just a handful of sellers of mud idols. Now, around 30 temporary sheds called karkhanas are found in areas like Chaderghat, Balanagar, Afzalgunj, Uppal, Alwal, Miyapur, Shivarampally and others where the idol makers stay and work on the idols. Chandra Pal, a mud idol seller for the past 20 years said, “The newer ones are at Miyapur, Uppal, Rakshapuram near Barkas and Shivarampally. With so many competitors entering the business, it is getting increasingly difficult to find land for setting up karkhanas too.” He added that this year, after several representations, GHMC agreed to give permission to put up a temporary shed which will be taken down once Navratri begins, only after a meeting with the sellers which was held last month.
Despite the initial hurdles, these idol sellers are not complaining as business has picked up immensely this year. With profit margins ranging from Rs 75 000 to Rs 1 lakh on a total investment of around Rs 1 lakh, sellers are optimistic about making the most of the festival. “The price of medium-sized idols of around 10 feet in height ranges from Rs 10 000 to Rs 35 000. Until 2009, getting around 20 to 30 customers was considered a good season and even they would bargain heavily. But this year, nearly 100 customers have already approached us and our investment is likely to double,” said Nagarani Nagesh, another seller in the city.
The idol makers from West Bengal spend about two to eight months here, living in temporary sheds and meticulously working on the elaborate designs which are sometimes requested by customers.
Ranjit Pal, one such craftsman at Alwal said, “I have been coming here with my father for the last 25 years. We come in January and leave only after Diwali as we also make Durga and Kaliidols for Dasara and Kali puja. We get to spend just a couple of months with our family in Kolkata. But the demand here is growing and there is a lot of scope, so we keep coming every year.”
A sweets and savouries maker from Tapeswaram in East Godavari district, known particularly for his ‘Kaja’, a delicacy from the region, is getting ready to make a six-foot diameter, 3,500 kg ‘Maha laddu’ as a special offering to the Khairatabad Ganesha in the State capital.
In 2010, Sri Bhakthanjaneya’s Suruchi Foods offered a laddu weighing 500 kg and 2,400 kg in 2011, drawing attention.
The process of making the first laddu was showcased in a documentary ‘Maha Ganapathiki Maha Naivedyam’ (offering for Maha Ganapathi) that was released by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.
Polisetty Mallibabu, owner of Suruchi Foods and 15 others will design the ‘laddu’ in their home-cum-factory at Tapeswaram near Mandapeta on September 2 after performing Ganesha pooja. On September 10, a Ganesha idol will be installed in a pandal and the laddu-makers will wear Ganesha mala.
The actual making of the laddu will start on September 16 and take two days, after which it will be sent to Hyderabad on September 18.
On September 19, the laddu would be handed over to the Khairatabad pandal organisers in the presence of Mr. Narasimhan and several Ministers, Mr. Mallibabu said. Asked if the Khairatabad Ganesh idol could withstand the 3.5 tonne weight of the laddu, he said, the organisers were in touch with him. “As the idol was made with 10 tonnes of iron, it can easily take the weight of the laddu,” he said.
Though no preservatives are used, the laddu would stay fresh for six months, he assured.
Ingredients, include 150 kg of cashew nuts, badam (80 kg), yellow camphor (20 kg), cardamom (20 kg), Bengal gram (850 kg), ghee (750 kg) and 1,600 kilos of sugar.
The seven-feet idol will be installed at Hindinagar in Goshamahal
A Ganesh idol adorned with American diamonds and pearls in all probability will be the cynosure of all eyes in the festivities this year. A six-member team of youngsters have come up with this unique idea for the festival starting September 19.
The seven-feet idol to be installed at Hindinagar in Goshamahal will be decorated with 12,500 American diamonds, specially bought from Surat in Gujarat, apart from 10,000 China and Basra pearls. In addition, the jewellery of the Lord will be of gold and silver.
The team, led by a journalism student Akash Agarwal is confident that the Ganesha standing on a conch, will steal the limelight this festive season in the city.
In their effort to make the idol stand apart from others, the youngsters have ordered special ‘tilak’ and ‘artificial eyes’ from Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh. A separate order has also been placed for an exclusive turban at a shop in Laad Bazaar, Charminar.
Organisers have already completed decoration of the conch with pearls using adhesives and the process of adorning the idol with diamonds has commenced. “We will be completing the work in 10 days,” explains Mr. Akash Agarwal. He says plans have also been drawn up to decorate the mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesh idol with gold and silver ornaments.
Even as festival arrangements are on, organisers are yet to decide on the issue of immersing idol at Hussainsagar lake.
“Last year, we made idol with gold and silver coins. After handing over the coins to devotees, the idol was immersed. We are not sure how things will work this year,” he admits.
Asked about security arrangements, he says four police constables would be posted at the pandal apart from installing three surveillance cameras. Under the banner of Balayuva Mandal, the youngsters, including Krishna Sen, Rahul Sen, Vikas Agarwal, Devashish and Hitesh Agarwal, have been celebrating the festival for the last 12 years.
Khairatabad Ganesh, considered the biggest and one of the most popular Ganesh Utsav mandals in the country will be unveiled to the public on September 14 for darshan. This year, the Ganesh idol will appear in the avatar of ‘Sarvaloka Mahaganapathi’, symbolising world peace and prosperity.
The mammoth Ganapati vigraha, weighing 30 tons, will be seated on a chariot driven by two airavatas (elephants), flanked by Lord Surya to his left and Tuliabhavani and Shivaji Bagavan on his right. The 55-feet high idol will be blessed by tri-murthi couples from above.
S. Sudershan, founder and chairman of the Ganesh Utsav Committee, says, “This year, T. Rajendran from our city has designed the idol. Lord Ganapati will arrive on a Shanti Rath, warding off evil and assuring prosperity. We have increased the weight of the laddoo to 3,500 kgs, and it will be prepared at Tapeswaram in Kakinada. The incense sticks will be 40 feet high. Close to 100 artists have been employed from Chennai and the work will go on for the next two months.”?
According to an organiser, S. Raj Kumar, devotees who cannot visit the Ganesh mandal during the 11-day celebration can mail their details to the committee and a special pooja will be conducted. “Elaborate security arrangements will be made for the devotees visiting the vigraha on all days and we are doing our best for the smooth running of the festival,” he said.
Dhoolpet is alleged to be the hub of liquor brewing and ganja making business but every year, three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi they wash off their sins by making idols
It’s atonement time for the Dhoolpet residents who are brewing gudumba (illicit liquor) or busy making ganja round the clock. They are now giving final touches to the Ganesh idols. Dhoolpet is one of the old suburbs in Old City. This area is inhabited by people who migrated from Uttar Pradesh during the Nizam’s rule.
Dhoolpet is known for the notorious liquor brewing and ganja businesses, but every year, this is the time when they wash off their sins by making Ganesh idols. However, the earnings are three times less than what they earn by selling illicit liquor. In spite of this, they are ready to compromise as it’s a matter of pleasing god to wash off their sins.
“Three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi is the only time when we stop brewing liquor. The main aim is to wash off our sins. It’s been over a month now since we have started to make Ganesh idols. I have made nearly 120 ganesh idols so far. The sizes range from two feet to 20 feet. Even the women from the family are involved in making idols. The men in the family do the final painting,” said Laxman Singh, who has been making idols since the last two decades.
“The earnings are low compared to what we earn otherwise but paapo ka prayaschit karna bhi zaruri hai,” he adds. Gudumba and Ganja are our their source of income. Most of the families are into this business from the time of Nizams. “The excise department has conducted many raids here, but we don’t fear in the trade that we practice as Lord Ganesha will take care of us,” gushes the old man.
Not adhering to government rules is nothing new for the residents.
Most of them still make idols using plaster of paris and they don’t want to make clay idols. “Whatever the government may say, but idols made of plaster of paris are still more in demand compared to the clay ones. Pandal organisers place orders for plaster of paris made idols only and that is the reason we don’t make eco-friendly Ganesh idols,” said Devi Singh, a resident of Dhoolpet.
Many workers are seen giving the “Dhoolpet finishing” to the idols. It’s a particular finishing in terms of touch, colour and even design.