Hyderabad: From 80s till now, Balapur Ganesh idol sways the city

Hyderabad: The Balapur Ganesh is the oldest in the city and was installed in 1980 by the organizers. In the eighties, there were only a handful of Ganesh idols and till date, the Balapur Ganesh is the oldest idol that leads the annual Vinayaka procession to Hussainsagar.

Installed in a mandapam set up in front of the Tahsildar office, the Balapur Ganesh is famous for its laddu auction. It commenced from 1994 and continues uninterrupted till date, barring 2020 when holding it was not possible due to COVID-19 pandemic’s lockdown restrictions.

In the initial year 1994, the laddu auction fetched Rs. 450 and one Kolan Mohan Reddy paid the amount, next year he paid Rs. 4500 for it. The auction process attracted global attention in 2015 when it fetched Rs. 10.32 lakh, in 2016 – 14.65 lakh, and in 2021 it fetched Rs. 18.90 lakh.

In 2020, the Ganesh laddu was gifted to Telangana chief minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao.

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Businessmen, political leaders, industrialists, farmers, and non-residential Indians participate in the laddu auction every year. The auction is done on the morning of Ganesh immersion day. The laddu is kept in the hand of Lord Ganesh idol for ten days, from the day the idol is installed– this year on August 31 – till it is taken out for immersion. The laddu this year will weigh 21 kilograms.

The amount received through the laddu auction is used for welfare activities by the Balapur Ganesh Utsav Committee.

“Amount was donated to temple, flood victims, local high school development and other works,” said K Nirajan Reddy, president, Balapur Ganesh Utsava Committee.

The Balapur Ganesh has a history of 28 years and every year the committee creates a new set-up where Ganesh is installed. It is the first idol to be installed in the city in 1980 and later other idols started being installed at Aliabad, Lal Darwaza, Falaknuma Road, Chandrayangutta, and later other localities in Charminar and Begum Bazaar.

The organizers have created a replica of Arunachalam Temple this year where the Ganesh is installed. Eighty artists from Kolkatta worked for 21 days to create the set. The height of the idol is 18 feet and final works are underway, said Nirajan Reddy.

During the 10-day festival, daily 10,000 visitors from all over Telangana come to Balapur Ganesh to get a glimpse and offer prayers.