Lakhs of devotees converge at immersion points braving Sun, rain and delays
Heavy rains and a general lack of urgency among pandal organisers led to inordinate delay of the main Ganesh immersion procession on Wednesday morning.
Despite frequent requests by police to hasten matters there was little response from pandal organisers. It became apparent from the early hours of the day that the procession would be marred by delays.
Sharp showers in the morning and heavy rain in the evening literally washed away any hopes of a quick wrap-up of the procession, forcing officials to admit that the immersion would extend late into Thursday.
Despite the downpour, the pomp and gaiety among devotees on the streets was there for all to see. In the evening, thousands braved heavy rains, inundation at water-logging points and the inconvenience due to the ongoing metro rail works, to reach the Hussainsagar.
The Balapur Ganesh procession, which starts first and heads to the Shahlibanda-M.J. Market stretch before reaching the Hussainsagar, began late, what with the auction of the Balapur laddu wrapping up and the procession kicking off at around 11 a.m. It was 2 p.m. when the first convoy of Ganesh idols from nearby colonies managed to reach Charminar.
The Balapur Ganesh, which usually arrives at Charminar by 1 p.m., could only manage to reach the spot by 6 p.m., a delay of a good five hours.
The delays and niggling worries due to the evening showers, however, were brushed aside with devotees turning up in large numbers en route to the immersion route. It was carnivalesque along the Shahlibanda-M.J. Market stretch with youth dancing to the beat of drums, gulal sprinkled all around, colour co-ordinated cloths of revellers and devotional music blaring out of speakers attached at every vantage point and on immersion vehicles.
“Every year we eagerly await this day. We are not bothered if it rains or if it doesn’t. We will apply gulal , distribute prasadam and dance to the tunes of the drum beats till we reach the Vinayaksagar. We are ready to celebrate all night long,” said Rathod Agarwal of Agarwal Samaj at Aliabad.
Drama at Charminar
There was no dearth of drama too. Arguments ensued between the office-bearers of Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Committee and police at Charminar. The committee members were unhappy after the police switched-off the public address system, installed at Charminar for delivering speeches, so as to allow prayers at the Mecca Masjid go uninterrupted. Order, however, was quickly restored with police restoring the sound systems.