Hyderabad: Idols of Lord Ganesh were immersed peacefully with religious fervour and enthusiasm in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana on Sunday amid tight security.
Three people died in two different incidents during the festivities in Khammam and Medak districts.
While a nine-year-old child died after falling from a truck carrying the idol in Medak district, two teenagers were drowned in a lake in Khammam district while immersing the idol.
Director General of Police Anurag Sharma said the celebrations were held in a smooth and peaceful manner.
Thousands of vehicles carrying idols of all sizes and in different ‘avataars’ of the elephant-headed Hindu god headed for the Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of Hyderabad city, marking the culmination of the 10-day Ganesh Utsav festivities.
Telangana Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy, DGP Anurag Sharma, Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy and other officials made an aerial survey of the mammoth procession.
The mammoth procession, which began from Balapur on the city outskirts, passed through the communally-sensitive old city and the main thoroughfares while proceeding towards the Hussain Sagar Lake.
Police said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the city. The afternoon and evening 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, were deployed in both Hyderabad and Cyberabad police commissionerate limits as part of the elaborate security arrangements.
Police forces were drawn from neighbouring 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 made elaborate security arrangements. Police were also keeping a tight vigil with the help of 2,500 CCTV cameras in the twin-cities.
The police commissioner said 400 cameras were installed on the main procession route to monitor the proceedings.
Lakhs of people, including women and children, participated in the festivities, which brought all other activity in the city to a grinding halt.
The main procession covered a distance of 25 km to reach Hussain Sagar, where 50 cranes were deployed for the immersion of the idols. As many as 21 tributary processions from different parts of the city joined the main procession.
Authorities also made arrangements for immersion of idols at 20 other lakes around the city. About 60,000 idols were immersed, half of them in the picturesque Hussain Sagar Lake.
The famous and tallest idol from Khairatabad was carried to Hussain Sagar Lake in the evening. The idol this year stood 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.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu addressed the procession at M.J. Market crossroads. He said the Ganesh festival underlined the unity as people, irrespective of religion, caste and social status participated. He termed the festival as one of the mega events in the world.
Naidu said the festival reflect the rich culture and heritage of the country. He cautioned against alien culture, foreign religions and foreign forces.
Union Minister of State Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP’s Telangana unit president G. Kishan Reddy and leaders of BJP, VHP, Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi and others participated in the celebrations.