When we think of Lord Ganpati, pictures of prosperity and peace come to mind. This is mainly because he is one of the most revered deities across the country. In the charming lanes of Hyderabad, the excitement of Ganesh Nimajjanam (Chaturthi) is contagious. People from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds unite as one to celebrate the glory of our dear Ganpati. According to the Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated in the Bhadra month in India since the era of Shivaji. Be it the streets or the homes of the believers, the onset of this 10-day religious commemoration can be witnessed with aplomb in Telangana’s capital city.
For travellers, this is the best time to explore the places to visit in Hyderabad as the entire city is in full swing. The sheer dedication towards these festivities can be seen on the smiling faces of the public. The bazaars and flea markets across the city are filled with devotees purchasing Ganesh murtis, flowers, sweets, and incense sticks. When the time of the Visarjan or immersion comes, Hussain Sagar Lake, among other river bodies, is lit up with hundreds of Ganpati idols in Hyderabad.
We have 7 interesting things to do that will make this occasion even more commemorative. Let’s get started.
1. Visit the Tallest Ganesha in Khairatabad
The tallest Ganesh murti in Hyderabad is known to be in Khairatabad. It is situated in Secunderabad Revenue with major roads connecting it to the entire city. Due to this, the area is always bustling. But during Ganesh Chaturthi in Hyderabad, the number of people in and around the pandal near the Khairatabad Library is triple the original count. Out of all the Ganesha idols in Hyderabad, the one in Khairatabad is the tallest, standing at 61-feet above sea level. The sheer beauty of this statue inspires thousands of devotees to visit Hyderabad from nearby cities and states. Hyderabad tour packages during this time of the year should be booked in advance; missing out on these massive celebrations would be a shame.
2. Marvel with Amazement at the Maha Laddu
Are you fond of laddus? We believe that true foodies who appreciate the simplistic beauty of this Indian sweet should visit Hyderabad during Ganapathi Chaturthi. Every year, a competition is organised in the city to reward the largest-weighing laddu. The ones prepared at the famous Tirupati Balaji Temple have broken records multiple times. However, there is one laddu that cannot be compared to any other prasad preparation in Hyderabad during the Ganpati festival. The Maha Laddu, weighting 5600 kg approximately, is set alongside the Khairatabad Ganesha idol. After auctioning off this laddu during Ganesh Visarjan in Hyderabad, the amount collected is given to a charitable organisation.
3. Celebrate with ‘Seed Ganesha’
In recent times, the threats posed to the environment during religious and other cultural festivals have been identified by state governments all over the country. Be it the quality of the air we breathe or the water we drink, every aspect of nature gets disturbed due to irresponsible behaviour exhibited by certain individuals. To avoid this scenario in Hyderabad, the Telangana government has come with a new concept called ‘Seed Ganesha’. Unlike other Ganesh idols in Hyderabad, this one is prepared with organic mud mixed with Neem seeds. The idea is to make it eco-friendly so that the idol turns into a plant after the germination process takes place in five to six days. This programme is launched by the endowment, forest, and environment minister Mr. Allola Indrakaran Reddy in association with Go Rural India, a non-profit organisation.
4. Observe More than 75,000 Visarjans
Oftentimes, tourists are keen on visiting Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi but the city of Hyderabad is equal when it comes to showcasing its devotion to Lord Ganpati. This can be observed in more than 75,000 pandals set in the city. While some are organised in the streets of humble localities, others are sheer art productions installed on large grounds or parks. It is said that Hyderabad’s Ganesh Utsav is a unique experience that you should have on your bucket list while travelling in Telangana during this time of the year. A pandal set up in Cyberabad is as welcoming as the one in Balapur speaks volumes about the inclusive nature of Hyderabadi folk.
5. Pay Homage to the Old City Pandal
Ganesh Nimajjanam is Hyderabad’s priority in the month of August or September, depending upon the Hindu calendar every single year. It has been so since the seventeenth century when the city was part of Asaf Jahi dynasty. After Independence, the culture of Hyderabad city has further evolved ensuring that all religious festivities are encouraged. In the old city, the pandal that is set up is considered to be the oldest one. It is because of this reason that the devout Ganesha believers never fail to visit it every year. Gowlipura’s Ganpati is decorated with bright flowers and colours and traditional sweets are offered to the deity before anyone else.
6. Learn Homely Traditions of Vinayak Chaturthi
It is a known fact that every city celebrating this festival has its own traditions that have been created based on culture, environment, and location. Ganesh puja in Hyderabad is performed in a way that might be different from Mumbai, Pune, or any other city. The customs followed in Hyderabadi households begin with waking up early every morning during the 11-day festivities. After this, the family creates a Paalavalli, a bamboo roof that is tied on top of the idol with the help of strings. Fresh fruits, flowers, and books are kept near the idol of Ganesha. Stories of the Lord’s generosity and kindness are read by the elders of the family and mantras are chanted with akshatalu (a mixture of turmeric and raw rice) is sprinkled on the deity.
7. Devour Special Hyderabadi Delicacies
Hyderabad sightseeing during Ganesh Utsav should be on every traveller’s itinerary because it will open up your minds and palates to things that are found only in this city. Be it the mouth-watering Payasam prepared in Gachibowli area or Lord Ganesha’s favourite Undrallu served as prasad in the temples across the city. From savoury to sweet, the treats prepared before and during Ganesh Visarjan in Hyderabad cannot be underestimated whatsoever. Our recommendation would be to try them out at famous sweet shops such as G. Pulla Reddy Sweets, Tiwari Brothers Mithaiwala, Dadu’s, and Almond House.
Take All the Precautions against COVID-19
With the world affected by COVID-19, celebrating festivals among large crowds of people isn’t advisable. When the unlock of several states began, the idea was to allow people to go to work and travel to different cities with minimal restriction. But as the festive season approaches, the government of Telangana is geared up to protect its people from the pandemic. This year, Lord Ganesha’s idol is in the form Dhanavantri Narayana Maha Ganpati with idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati on both sides in Khairatabad. Strict protocols and restrictions would be followed throughout the 11-day festival in order to minimise the risk of contracting this disease during Ganpati Utsav in Khairatabad, Hyderabad.
With the blessings of Lord Ganesha, here’s hoping that you have a safe and prosperous Ganesh Chaturthi in 2020!