Gaiety and fervour combined with tight security marked the Vinayaka Chathurthi celebrations in Coimbatore on Monday.

The festivities, pujas and ‘aradhanas’ began as early as 4 a.m. in the city with people congregating in large numbers at various Vinayaka temples and pandals erected for the occasion. ‘Annadhanam’ was also organised across the city and rural areas.

Huge crowds thronged the Vinayaka Temple at Puliakulam which was decked with herbs for the occasion. The Vinayaka Temple at Ichanari was decked with golden ornaments.

Permission was accorded by the city and district police to erect nearly 1,400 idols across the urban and rural areas of Coimbatore. Thousands of police personnel were pressed into security duty for the festival.

In urban areas, an idol was immersed on Monday. Permission has been accorded for six on Tuesday, 123 on Wednesday, 208 on Friday and one more on Sunday, police sources said.

M. Sudhakar, Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore Rural, said that surveillance cameras were installed at sensitive locations.

As many as 24 cameras were installed at Mettupalayam alone besides several more at Pollachi and Thudiyalur. Besides procession routes, the immersion points were also covered by cameras.

Staff Reporter adds from Tirupur: Idols of Lord Ganesha in attractive colours on shiny, soft clay and carrying social messages were among the total 1,085 such deities erected at public places across the district on Monday.

A majority of the idols will be taken out in processions for immersion on Wednesday.

One of the main attractions was the 20-foot tall Ganesha idol, among the tallest erected in the district this time, kept near the Weavers’ Colony in the city.

The Hindu Munnani had set up the maximum number of around 920 idols in the district.

To prevent any untoward incident, the police had instructed the organisers to place a minimum of five persons near each idol round-the-clock till they were taken for immersion.

“We have also intensified mobile patrolling and set up pickets at places wherever necessitated,” Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar Singh told The Hindu.

Special Correspondent adds from Udhagamandalam: Overnight rains and overcast conditions notwithstanding, Vinayaka Chathurthi was celebrated with considerable enthusiasm in various parts of the Nilgiris on Monday.

At the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve near here, eight camp elephants participated in the celebrations which were witnessed by a good number of devotees, including tourists.

While a elephant Masini chimed a bell and circled the Lord Ganesha temple at Theppakadu, the others which had been lined up nearby raised their trunks and trumpeted loudly.

With security being beefed up to ensure that the day passes without any untoward incidents, police guards were stationed near statues of Lord Vinayaka installed in various parts of the district.

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