Hyderabad: Marked by religious fervor and abandon enthusiasm, immersion of Lord Ganesh idols is underway in Hyderabad on Sunday amid tight security.
Thousands of vehicles carrying idols of all sizes and in different ‘avataars’ of the elephant-headed Hindu god are heading for the Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city, marking the culmination of 10-day festivities, some of the biggest in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The mammoth procession which began from Balapur on the outskirts is proceeding towards the lake, passing through communally sensitive old city and the main thoroughfares.
Police said no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere in the city. The afternoon prayers at the historic Makkah Masjid near Charminar passed off peacefully amid tight security and vigilance by the police.
More than 30,000 policemen, including personnel from the central paramilitary forces, have been deployed in both Hyderabad and Cyberabad police commissionerate limits as part of the elaborate security arrangements.
Police forces have been drawn from neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also in addition to nine other districts of Telangana to oversee the culmination of the 10-day festival in Hyderabad.
With the immersion coinciding with the third and final day of Eid-ul-Azha, police have made elaborate security arrangements. Police were also keeping a tight vigil with the help of 2,500 CCTV cameras in the twin ctities.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy said 400 cameras were installed on the main procession route to keep an eye on the proceedings.
The cameras were connected to a command and control centre to help police take immediate action on the ground to control the situation, should any potential problem arise.
Lakhs of people including women and children are participating in the festivities, which have brought all other activities in the city to a grinding halt.
The main procession covers a distance of 25 km to reach Hussain Sagar, where 50 cranes have been deployed for immersion of idols. As many as 21 tributary processions from different parts of the city join the main procession.
Authorities have also made arrangements for immersion of idols at 20 other lakes around the city. About 60,000 idols will be immersed, half of them in the picturesque Hussain Sagar Lake.
Police have also deployed 30 bomb disposal teams, 30 sniffer dog teams and anti-sabotage squads. The police chief said 120 patrol cars and 15 interceptor vehicles have been deployed.
The main procession began from Balapur after the traditional ‘laddu’ was auctioned. A devotee, K. Madan Mohan Reddy, bought the ‘laddu’ for Rs.10.32 lakh.
The famous and tallest idol from Khairatabad will be carried to Hussain Sagar Lake later in the evening. The idol this year stands at 59 feet with a 6,000-kg ‘laddu’ in its hand.
The immersion of idols will continue till the dawn of Monday, and possibly even later.