Ganesh laddoos, offered as ‘prasad’ (sacred offering) during puja, seem to be outdoing each other this festival season in Hyderabad, where traditional auctions for the sweet offering have fetched record amounts, running into several lakhs of rupees.
This year, a 10-12 kg laddoo at Richmond Villa Sun City, a gated community in the city, has fetched a record ₹ 60.8 lakh after 100 residents paid for it.
While the Ganesh laddoo at Marakatha Shree Lakshmi Ganapati Utsav Pandal fetched nearly ₹ 46 lakh, the Balapur Ganesh laddoo was sold for ₹ 24.60 lakh. In fact, it all started at the Balapur pandal in 1994, when local farmer Kolan Mohan Reddy bid ₹ 450 for the auspicious laddoo.
Local residents believe Ganesh laddoos bring good luck, health and prosperity. The auctioning of laddoos marks the beginning of the Balapur Ganesh idol immersion procession in Hyderabad.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Saji D’Souza, a resident of Richmond Villa Sun City, said about 100 residents had got together to purchase the laddoo. “Among us are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, but the only religion we all believe in is humanity. Ganesh festival is a good occasion for all of us to get together and celebrate humanity,” he said
The residents here started the tradition of auction five years ago, paying ₹ 25,000 for a Ganesh laddoo. The difference was that instead of giving the laddoo to the highest bidder, the puja organisers decided to accept contributions from all residents, like crowdfunding, to pay for the laddoo.
With the number of contributors growing every year, the RV Diya Charitable Trust was set up that now funds up to 17 NGOs in supporting education and medical needs for the less-privileged.
When the Marakatha Shree Lakshmi Ganapati Utsav Pandal laddoo was auctioned for ₹ 45,99,999, it was the highest individual bid for a laddoo in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
This year, the Balapur laddoo was bought by local farmer and realtor V Laxma Reddy for ₹ 24.60 lakh. “Money from the auction will be used to develop the temples in Balapur,” said a member of the Samithi that organised the festivities.
Videos shared on social media showed the couple, Geethapriya and Venkata Rao, who successfully bid for the Sri Lakshmi Ganapati laddoo of Kanajiguda Marakata, posing with their prized possession. Mr Rao, who is associated with a University in the United States, was seen carrying the laddoo on his head. Authorities said money from the auction will be used to develop the temple.