Though there is confusion on whether Dasara falls on Sunday or Monday, many celebrate the occasion on Sunday

It’s an extended Navaratri celebration in the State capital. Though there have been some confusion on whether the Dasara celebrations fall on Sunday or Monday, the festivities took off on Sunday with fervour and gaiety with the temples of Goddess Durga filled to the brim with devotees. The government holiday for Dasara is, however, on Monday.

The prospects of having to face possible heavy rains due to the influence of cyclone Phailin also weighed on revellers’ minds, as some decided not to travel to temples in the nearby districts and instead celebrate the festival in the city. With the weather remaining largely sunny in the city and despite the inflated prices, the markets were packed with shoppers trying to purchase puja materials and flowers for Ayudha puja. From the wee hours of the day, temples in Hyderabad were teeming with families who turned up to offer their prayers to the deity. Large number of commercial vehicles and school buses, decorated with flowers, plantain leaves, vermillion and other paraphernalia, were brought to the temples for puja.

Immersion processions

The specially decorated Durga pandals by the Bengali community also witnessed large number of footfalls. “We are taking up the immersion celebrations on Monday. We are expecting thousands of devotees to visit our pandals at Keyes High School and several other places in Hyderabad. Our community members are also expected to participate in the festivities,” says Chandan Chaterjee, a devotee.

Meanwhile, a majority of the Durga pandals, erected by the Marwari, Rajasthani and other North Indian communities, observed immersion procession of the Durga idols on Sunday. The processions were marked by a series of cultural programmes, special puja and homam, the ceremonial ritual taken up on the occasion of Navaratri festival.

Thanks to the two days of Dasara festivities, temple priests were in great demand for conducting puja at Durga pandals, colonies, apartment complexes and commercial establishments. In fact, many devotees had to pay hefty amounts to invite priests to their pandals and homes for conducting Durga puja.