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  The First Vinayaka Fest in Hyderabad  

Today the Vinayaka Chaturthi celebration is a majaor ten-day Lord Ganeshaevent in the social life of the Hyderabadis. On the final day there is a gala procession wherein idols of Lord Vinayaka from all over the Twin Cities, are carried with pomp and show and religious fervour and are immersed in the waters of the Hussain Sagar. With the idols vying with each other for sizes, themes and aesthetic creativity, with thousands of men, women and children lined on either side of the road - right from Secunderabad to Charminar and with the atmosphere filled with devotion and a festive spirit, the scene is spectacular and intensely moving.

But how did this event which is also fast becoming a major tourist attraction begin? And when?

There is a recorded historical evidence that answers these questions. The six-volumed Bostani Asafia writtenby one Manikrao Vitthalrao.

Manikrao records that in Saka 1818 i.e. in 1896 A.D. Vinayaka Chaturthi festival was first celebrated at two places in the Hyderabad city. The first at Shah-ali-Banda was the result of the efforts of Shivram Shastri Gore. And the second was at Chadarghat in the haveli of Hanmantrao Nimgaokar, the mahasab (Accountant General) of the Nizam.

At pages 754-755 of Bostani Asafia, Volume-II, writer Manikrao describes the celebrations thus:
"Ismein ilmi aur roohani sabhi taqrire hoti hai. aur raag gaye jate hai. Ladkon-ke mele aur pooja paath hote hai. Akhri din julus ke saath nadi ya bawdi ko liye jate hai."

("In this, all kinds of lectures, academic as well as spiritual, are held. And raags are sung. Children's melas and poojas are held. On the final day they take it in a procession to a river or a well.")

This was how the first Vinayaka fest was in Hyderabad. As for the 127th, it is just ahead.

Anil Ekbote

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