Ganesh Chaturthi festivities kicked off on Sunday, with denizens teeming roadsides and stores, including those which stocked clay idols.
Several areas of the city witnessed traffic jams as shoppers ventured out to purchase Lord Ganesh idols. Transport of larger idols, too, led to traffic snarls in many areas, including the stretch from L.B. Nagar to Uppal and in ECIL area. Mid-day rain did not prove deterrence, as people continued shopping for flowers and other puja material in the afternoon.
“It took us nearly an hour to cover three kilometres to arrive here,” said Shalini Kumar, a resident of Tarnaka, who was shopping for idols near Uppal.
In Sainikpuri, Telugu film star Sunil distributed Ganesh idols to residents of the area. The event, organised by residents of the area, also saw the actor launch an app for purchase of eco-friendly idols. “The sale of clay idols has been significantly higher this time. The increase in size of clay idols over the years has found more takers, and it seems the message of environmental friendliness is sinking in,” said an idol seller near ECIL.
On Sunday, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation also took up tree pruning in all its zones to ensure smooth movement of vehicles carrying large idols.
The city police deployed around 20,000 police personnel to ensure that the festivities and immersion process passes of peacefully. Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy informed that there are no height restrictions on idols, but those up to 15 feet tall would be easy to transport for installation and immersion. He cautioned the organisers to consider the ongoing Metro Rail works in many parts of the city before deciding on the immersion route.
The famous Khairatabad Ganesh has been installed in the form of Shaktipeetha Sivanagendra Maha Ganapathi, standing 58-feet tall, a foot shorter than last year. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife will offer prayers on Monday morning here.
The Commissioner also appealed to the public to start the immersion in the morning and arrive early at Hussainsagar. In recent years, immersion at the lake has spilled onto the next day, bringing traffic to a standstill in many parts of the city.