Hyderabad: Chants of "Ganapati bappa moriya" rent the air as the Ganesh Chavithi (Chaturthi) festival was celebrated here on Thursday amid religious fervour and tight security.
Devotees performed puja at specially-decorated pandals or makeshift platforms erected by neighbourhood and traders associations.
According to Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, over 50,000 idols have been put up in and around Hyderabad for the 10-day festival this year. This is in addition to small idols in apartments and individual houses.
Governor ESL Narasimhan and his wife performed puja before the huge idol put up at Khairatabad near Raj Bhavan, the governor`s official residence.
Since being first put up in 1954, the Ganesh at Khairatabad has been attracting huge crowds each year for its ever-increasing size and artistic beauty. This year the Utsav Samithi has put up a 52-foot idol, taller by two feet than last year`s.
According to the organisers, over 100 artists built the idol at a cost of Rs 30 lakh. Rajendra, who led the team of artists, has chosen to depict Ganesh spreading the message of world peace.
Hundreds of trucks and smaller vehicles were seen carrying the idols from Dhoolpet area to their destinations. The devotees were doing last-minute shopping for marigold flowers, green leaves and other puja essentials.
Sweet shops and 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.
Hyderabad police commissioner AK Khan has appealed to people not to heed rumours known to be spread on such occasions.
He said that 257 sensitive and 534 hypersensitive spots had been identified.
As the city has been rocked by communal riots during the festival in the past, the police are taking all steps to maintain peace and harmony.
More forces will be mobilised for the mammoth immersion procession on Sep 11. The procession brings the entire city to a standstill as thousands of idols are immersed in the Hussain Sagar Lake, in the heart of the city.