HYDERABAD, INDIA, September 19, 2012: The city sported a festive look on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi. Colourful flowers, torans and decorative items flooded local markets that were chock-a-block all through Tuesday with enthusiastic denizens pouring in large numbers. Organizers at the Ganesh pandals were seen making last-minute preparations, paying special attention to security arrangements this time around. An estimated 50,000 Ganesh Deities are likely to dot various corners of Hyderabad this year.
Shoppers thronged the lanes of Monda Market and Begum Bazaar right from morning, purchasing fruits, flowers, banana leaves and lotus leaves, all of which are used in Ganesh puja, from numerous vendors lined on both sides of the roads. K Rakesh, a flower vendor at Monda Market said, "People purchase all kinds of flowers for this festival. Apart from the usual marigold and jasmine, there is a demand for the flowers usually used in bouquets which are called chandni. They are brought from Bangalore." Rakesh added that he is likely to earn anything between Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 in two days (Tuesday and Wednesday).
Sellers of decorative pieces like artificial flowers, torans and garlands too reported a 40% rise in sales when compared to last year, with saffron flags and the small decorative umbrellas, usually placed above the idol, doing the most business. Sweet shops too saw sales go up significantly for the festival. "Sales are likely to double this year and may even triple if the crowd is good on Wednesday. Around 90% of the sweets sold are the different kinds of laddus prepared especially for Ganesh Chaturthi. Motichoor laddus and modaks are in great demand," said Rajesh Dadu, proprietor of Dadu's Mithai Vatika.
Meanwhile, anticipating large crowds, organizers of most of the Ganesh utsavs have beefed up their security measures. And apart from sprucing up pandals, some have even spiced up the festivities with virtual puja services for devotees. The Khairatabad committee, for instance, now has a provision of sending puja requests through emails. While this facility has been available on its website for sometime, this year the rush seems to be much higher. Organizers said they have already received well over 1,000 email requests and expect the number to touch 10,000 over the next few days. The Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, which oversees all festival proceedings in the city, too has created a website this year and also uploaded a Facebook page to keep in touch with the organizers of various pandals.