Year 2021, a memorable year in my life. For the first time in my life, I have experienced our culture and religious festival so closely. Being a Hyderabadi (an individual born and bought up in Hyderabad, India), my understanding was Ganesh festival for 10 days is celebrated with varieties of prasadam (a food offered to god), lot of entertainment and fun & music during the immersion day. But, for the first time I have understood that Ganesha festival is reflection of our culture, togetherness, full of emotions, social gathering, and reflection of Hinduism.
This article is the personal experience of Shri Jayadevan Balakrishnan about Hyderabad Ganesh Pandals 2021. For 10 days, during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, Shri Jayadevan had covered around 250+ KM in cycle around Hyderabad and visited 30+ Ganapathi pandals. I am writing article about my experience.
Hyderabad – History of Ganesh Pandal
About Hyderabad – City of 400+ years was built on the banks of river Musi. The city has an estimated population of around 10 Million making it 6th largest city in India. Hyderabad is known for its rich history, food, multi-lingual, religious and culture.
History of Ganesh Pandal – City is known for celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with huge pandals and colors. According to Hindu mythology, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the arrival of Lord Ganesha. The festival was revived by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 when the British had banned political assemblies. This festival was used for people gathering and discuss about freedom movements.
In Hyderabad, the festival was celebrated before the independence however, got the significance from 1954. Sankarayya, who was a freedom fighter had initiated the “Khairatabad Ganesh”. Year over years, the festival has spread across the city and is celebrated for 11days.
Journey on Pedals
Like, Ganesh use his vehicle, mouse for his travel – I have used my cycle as a vehicle and pedaled Ganesha pandals across the twin cities (Hyderabad and Secunderabad is also known as twin cities).
I have peddled around 270+ Kilometers across the city and visited 30+ pandals during the 10 days of celebration. With interaction of organizers and local people at each pandal, I have gathered details and would like to share with you through this article.
Before I go with my experience in 2021, I would like express my sincere thanks to Naveen Sanagala who have published about the details in Ganesh Mandapams during 2019.
In 2021, Ganesha at Khairthabad appeared as Panchamukha (means 5 faces) with 40-Foot height. Khairthabad is known for organizing tallest Ganesh idol in the world, however the height had been restricted to 9 feet during 2020 due to Covid-19. The organizers were enthusiastic to come back this year.
The pandal is known for:
• Initiated by Shankaraiah, a freedom fighter in 1954 with a one-foot idol and gradually the size of the idol is increased every year.
• During 2014, committee decided to reduce the height owing to logistic reasons.
• Over 100+ skilled artisans from the three states- Telugu, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu work for 4-6 months to make the idol
• During 2015, 6,000 KG of laddu was kept in the palm of Ganesh. In 2021, the laddu weighed 1,100 KG.
• Idol is immersed in Hussain Sagar lake on the 11th day of celebration.
This is one of the oldest,in fact 1st (first) pandal in the Hyderabad. According to the localities, Shivaji Maharaj during his visit to Hyderabad had initiated the Ganesh Puja in this mandapam. Since then, the Ganesh Puja is celebrated every year here.
Gowlipura Ganesh Utsav Committee is one the biggest organizer who supports various pandals organized within the old city during celebration and immersion times.
This is the first pandal where the process for auctioning the laddu started. In year 2021, the laddu weighed 21-Kg and fetched the price of 18.90 Lakhs.
• First auction of laddu started in 1994. Kolan Mohan Reddy, a local farmer had won the first-ever laddu auction at the price of Rs. 450.
• Bidders across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states participate in the bid.
• Amount earned in the laddu auction is used for the welfare of local developments.
• Laddu is prepared with pure ghee and dry fruits and kept in a silver bowl in the hands of Ganesha.
• During 2020, due to Covid-19, the laddu was handed over to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
Devi Nagar Youth Association in Kavadiguda is one of the oldest Ganesh mandapam in Secunderabad region. This association is celebrating Ganesh festival since 1978.
• One of the top associations in the city.
• Pandal is known for installing eco-friendly Ganesh every year.
• One of the oldest and tallest pandal in twin cities.
• Individual showcase their talents via stage shows organized by association during the 10 days of celebrations.
Hyderabad – Zone Wise
Over last few years the number of Ganesha pandals have increased along with the growth of the city. Here are the famous pandals of Ganesh according to zone wise.
• Film Nagar
Immersion and Procession
After a year of lull due to pandemic, the mega Ganesh immersion returned. The procession is famously called as “Shobha Yatra”. Around 33 lakes in and around Hyderabad had been organized for immersion.
Hussain Sagar historically built across a tributary of the Musi river. This is the main lake for immersion of the Ganesha idols. Almost 70% of the city idols are immersed in this lake every year.
• Around 83K Ganesh Idols were immersed across all parts of the City.
• Procession route covered around 300 KM.
• 215 Ganesh Action Teams comprising 8,116 workers were supported to ensure sanitation and hygiene.
• Deployed around 1600 entomology staffers, 1000 supervisory staff and 100 swimmers were arranged.
• Around 27,000 policemen were deployed.
• Around 330 cranes of various capacities arranged at 33 lakes and 28 special ponds created for immersion.
• At Hussain Sagar (main place for immersion), around 40 cranes with 30 expert swimmers at the water body were arranged.
• Procession started early morning 19th Sep and concluded by 11:30 am on 20th Sep 2021.