The city wore a colourful look on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturti here on Tuesday.

One of the special features of the festivities here is that the celebrations also witness a cultural confluence. People of different cultural backgrounds, such as Kannadigas, Gujaratis, Konkanis, Tulus and others, celebrate the occasion in a unique way. The celebrations also offer devotees a chance to taste the different cuisines made available by this confluence.

There was good response to the move to use eco-friendly idols this year.

Many opted to install idols made from clay and painted with natural colours. Clay artist Manjunath Hiremath said this year the demand for eco-friendly idols had increased considerably, and he had sold 500 small and 70 big idols.

Over 100 pandals were set up by the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav celebration committees in the city. The Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav celebrations, which have their roots in the freedom movement, began with some motivation by freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The oldest committee was named after him.

While the processions usually begin in the morning, this year they were delayed due to differences between the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav celebration committees and the police. The police had banned the use of sound systems during processions, evoking a protest from organisers. Sources in the police said that the committee heads insisted on using sound systems, and although the police originally refused, they later acquiesced to the demand when committees threatened to hold a protest and place the idols at Jubilee Circle.

The processions, which began in the afternoon, hampered traffic movement at several places and were also criticised for using high-volume sound systems and playing item songs instead of devotional songs.

A dampener on the celebrations

Hubli Staff Correspondent writes:

The heavy rainfall did not greatly dampen the spirit of those bringing home Ganesh idols for installation; however, despite the cheer, the downpour did manage to affect participation in the processions that marked the beginning of the celebrations. The incessant rain forced many to stay indoors.

Members of Ganesh mandals made sure that the music played during the procession was under the permitted levels as stipulated by B.A. Padmanayan, Police Commissioner.

A few of them had folk artistes playing the background music. The processions began in the afternoon and continued till late in the evening. There are as many as 500 mandals in Hubli alone.

Apart from arranging security around Ganesh pandals across the city, the police have published a list of shops authorised to sell firecrackers. Firecrackers can only be sold at Nehru Ground in Hubli.

The Police Commissioner warned traders to strictly adhere to the conditions, failing which licences would be cancelled.

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