City goes into frenzy, roads leading to Hussainsagar packed
The whole city heaved a sigh of relief on Sunday, as replicas of the Elephant God were immersed in thousands at various points of the city without any major incident, as feared in the backdrop of the recent bomb blasts at Delhi.
The centralised immersion procession was late by hours to arrive at Tank Bund, partly due to the delay of smaller processions which were to join it, and partly due to the halt for the peaceful conduct of noon prayers at the Mecca Masjid. Power hiccups and dearth of vehicles and cranes at the pandals worsened the situation.
As a result, only about 3,000 idols - a fraction of the 40,000-odd idols - were immersed by 8 p.m., as informed by the Police Commissioner at a press conference.
Three streams of major processions joined the centralised one, one from Malakpet, another from Nagulchinta and the third from western part of Hyderabad via Mehdipatnam. These three streams headed towards Necklace road and Tank Bund, while the fourth stream reached Tank Bund from the Secunderabad side.
Banners cutting across organisations and political parties were tied all over the city, inviting idols from various locations for immersion. Temporary platforms were erected at locations along the procession routes such as Dilsukhnagar, Charminar, Mojamjahi market and several other places, with leaders and god-men climbing atop to deliver speeches.
The major immersion point at Hussainsagar saw holiday revellers making a beeline to the site right since 3 p.m. Undaunted by the fear of terror attacks, people arrived in droves, and by late in the evening, numbers swelled to unmanageable proportions. Police had to go about instructing people to move to the other side of the road and make space for processions towards the lake side.
Due to iron barricades erected on the road dividers, people could not jump over to the other side to escape being run into. They had to take a detour, and in the jostling, quite a few children were separated from parents, about whom announcements were made on the public address system. The unruly crowd gave pickpocketeers and miscreants harassing women a field day.
As huge trolleys that were weighed down with mammoth idols began lumbering towards NTR Marg and Tank Bund late in the evening, the crowds went into an ecstasy, shouting slogans of ‘Ganpathi Bappa Moria' and dancing frenziedly to the ubiquitous drumbeats. Onlookers jostled and climbed one over the other on both sides of the barricades to have a glimpse of the idols. In response, those accompanying the idols on the flower-bedecked vehicles tossed ‘Prasadam' packets and water sachets into the crowds.
Water and ‘prasadam' were distributed also at pandals as well as all along the procession routes, to quench the thirst of those dancing all the way down.
The immersion point itself wore a carnivalesque look, with hundreds of petty vendors swarming the environs aiming to make a quick buck. It was a food festival of sorts, with children and older people alike munching away on all varieties of goodies. Women and children were attired in their best, and the smell of marigold and chrysanthemum was thick in the air.
Sale of trinkets too was heavy. The whole area between the Khairathabad Flyover, Tank Bund, Necklace Road and NTR Marg reverberated with the rasping calls of ‘Pungi's sold in tens of thousands.
Being a hot day, water sachets distributed by the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board were consumed in lakhs. GHMC set up mobile clinics to offer emergency medical assistance.
Keywords: Ganesh immersion