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Ganesh festival brings out city’s multi-cultural milieu

Hyderabad: While they may be living far from their home states, Bengalis, Gujaratis, Marwadis, and Sindhis who made Hyderabad their home several decades ago celebrated the Ganesh festival in their traditional style.

Although the Bengalis celebrate the Durga festival on a grand scale, they have gradually begun to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi as well. As a result, a large number of Bengalis gathered at the Hyderabad Bangalee Samiti in Domalguda to bid Ganesh farewell and immerse the idol in Hussainsagar Lake.

“We primarily celebrate Durga Puja and wanted to incorporate our culture into this. We celebrate the festival in our own traditional style. We serve Lord Ganesh not only traditional modaks, but also Sandesh modaks in the Bengali style. Several families prepare the food and offer it to Lord Ganesh, after which it is distributed to everyone. During the 11-day celebration, we prepare various Bengali dishes such as ‘Luchi, Chola dal, Alu dum, Halwa, rice kheer,” said Shyamali Bose, a member of the Samiti’s executive council.

The Gujarati community is back in full force to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi this year, after a year of low-key celebrations due to Covid restrictions. While the nine-day Navaratri festival is the most revered period for Gujaratis, the community, which has a sizable population in Hyderabad, especially in Koti, has celebrated the festival with zeal and fervour.

The community has installed several Ganesh idols throughout the twin cities, primarily at Gujarathi Seva Mandir in Secunderabad, Gujarathi College, Hanuman Tekdi, and the majority of the community’s institutions. Jignesh Doshi, president of the Gujarathi Society, stated that each pandal saw thousands of devotees each day. Various events and cultural programmes were held throughout the 11-day celebration. “Some idols will be immersed on Thursday, while others on Friday,” he explained.

Marwaris, the city’s most prosperous business community, primarily dealing in gems and jewellery, have been celebrating the Ganesh festival for more than a century. Marwaris, like Gujaratis, have a sizable population in Hyderabad. Although Diwali and Holi are the most important Marwari festivals, the Marwadi Ganesh Utsav Samiti has been installing the Ganesh idol at Hashmath Gunj since 1922. “We’ve been celebrating the Ganesh festival for several decades, and every year we get more and more enthusiastic about it,” said key members of the Marwadi Ganesh Utsav Samiti, Srivas Loya, Sumith Rathi, and Gansham Toshiniwal. What is unique about their Ganesh idol is that the pandal is fully air-conditioned.  More than 10,000 people visit our pandal every year,” the organisers said.

This year’s pandal also included a depiction of Samudra Manthan, or the churning of the ocean by Gods using mechanical motions to extract divine nectar (amrit). “Gods churning the ocean to extract nectar through mechanised action is one of the amazing works,” the organisers said.

While Sindhis, an important business community much like the Marwaris, celebrate Cheti Chand as New Year’s Day, the Ganesh festival was celebrated with zeal and zest. The community, which is spread across the city, has a strong presence in Secunderabad, with many of them settling in Sindhi Colony.

Sindhi community members Satish Roshan, Pawan Kumar, and Rahu Kumar have installed a Ganesh pandal in Lothkunta, Secunderabad. “A large number of Sindhi families gathered. During the festival, we held pujas and cultural events every day. The Ganesh idol has been immersed on the third day itself,” they said.

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