Visakhapatnam: Revellers go pandal hopping in city after two long years

With no restrictions on celebrations, thousands of devotees have darshan of the deity

Published - September 01, 2022 10:53 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

The 102-foot tall idol of Lord Ganesh, set up at Dondaparthy in Visakhapatnam, is said to be the tallest in the two Telugu States.

The 102-foot tall idol of Lord Ganesh, set up at Dondaparthy in Visakhapatnam, is said to be the tallest in the two Telugu States. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

All roads in the city led to Dondaparthy on Wednesday, as devotees flocked in large numbers to see the 102-foot-tall idol of Lord Ganesh, which is said to be the tallest in the two Telugu States.

The idol was made by 15 artistes from Kolkata in 25 days. “We have been organising the festival since 2009 at this place. We could not conduct the festival due to COVID-19 pandemic during the last two years,” says festival organiser and Ward 27 YSRCP president Neelapu Sarveswara Reddy.

“As many as 25,000 devotees had darshan of the deity from morning to around midnight on Wednesday. We have arranged a laddu weighing 102 kg. Devotees can have darshan till September 20. The idol will be immersed here itself on the next day,” he says.

The 89-foot-idol at Gajuwaka is also attracting a large number of devotees. Devotees can have darshan till September 18. The same evening, it would be immersed at the same place with the help of a fire tender and the clay would be immersed at sea,” a festival organiser said.

Though Ganesh pandals are being set up after a gap of two years due the COVID-19 restrictions, the number of pandals on the streets seemed to be fewer as compared to the pre-COVID days. Many of the smaller pandals had immersed the idols at RK Beach and in the mobile tanks arranged by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) on Wednesday evening.

During the pre-COVID time, many pandals used to be arranged on the streets, with at least one or two pandals on all major streets. The idols used to be of various sizes. Traders and even autorickshaw drivers used to raise donations and arrange puja pandals on the streets near their shops or at the auto-rickshaw stands.

This year, there was hardly any organiser coming to collect donations in residential areas. The pandemic has also had a tremendous impact. With the cost of the puja materials going up, many of the small organisers seem to have given up. Those who set up puja pandals immersed the idols at the end of the first day itself.

GVMC has arranged trucks, carrying large water tanks at some places in the city for the convenience of devotees who wish to immerse small clay idols. “The objective is to reduce traffic jams and coastal pollution, as otherwise the idols are transported to the beach on vehicles and immersed in the sea,” GVMC Commissioner G. Lakshmisha said.

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