Millions of people Monday celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Hindu elephant headed god, with religious fervour and gaiety at homes and temples amid tight security and heightened vigil.
In Bangalore, hundreds of pandals (make-shift stages) have been set up in several residential localities and shopping areas across the city with colourful Ganesh idols in different sizes and shapes installed on a decked up platform for the 10-day fest.
For the devout, the auspicious fourth day of the new moon (chaturthi), as per the Hindu calendar, began with prayers invoking the young god to bless them and remove all obstacles in their life.
With flowers, fruits and a sweet, made with coconut and jaggery, said to be a favourite of the god, devotees worshipped the propitiated idol by reciting the hymns and reading the story of his life as the younger son of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
The bull temple at Basavangudi in the city’s southern suburb drew huge crowds of devotees throughout the day as it has the biggest idol (Dodda Ganesha) carved out of a single stone. Located in a Bugle Rock park, the massive idol is decorated with layers of butter with Nandi bull facing the sanctum sanctorum.
Police made elaborate arrangements to ensure peaceful celebrations of the fest and regulate devotees flocking to Ganesh temples across the city.
“About 9,000 policemen and 1,000 home guards have been deployed around Ganesh temples and sensitive areas, with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras fixed at immersion places to maintain peace and order,” city Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar told reporters here.
Meanwhile, the Bangalore Bruhat Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) advised the people not to immerse Ganesh idols made of plaster of paris in lakes and ponds dotting the city to prevent their water being polluted with lead and chemicals used in painting them.
“As an estimated five lakh Ganesh idols are used every year for the 10-day fest, their immersion in lakes and ponds will not only pollute the water, but also harm the marine life in them,” said BBMP commissioner Lakshminarayana.
The civic body has arranged mobile tanks in several wards across the city for immersion of the idols.
Police also banned taking out processions, bursting of crackers and using loudspeakers to blare music or songs after 10.30 p.m. during the next 10 days.