Deepavali frenzy lights up shops and streets, few takers for firecrackers

From decorative items and diyas to clothes and sweets, Hyderabad residents go on a shopping spree ahead of the Festival of Lights; permanent parking problems lead to traffic chaos

From decorative items and diyas to clothes and sweets, Hyderabad residents go on a shopping spree ahead of the Festival of Lights; permanent parking problems lead to traffic chaos

A few days before the big Deepavali festival, the streets of Hyderabad are teeming with customers. While Somajiguda’s Jewelers’ Street is filled with cars blocking traffic, Begum Bazaar, Ameerpet, Gulzar Houz and other areas of the city are filled with festive shoppers.

And these aren’t firecrackers that buyers are splurging on. The warehouse of one of the biggest retail firecrackers is now filled with bags of garlic and ginger near MJ Market.

Clay lamps for sale before Deepavali.

Clay lamps for sale before Deepavali. | Photo credit: Serish Nanisetti

Among the items for sale are perfectly formed diyas (clay lamps). “These are cast and not handcrafted. That’s why they are perfect and don’t soak the oil when lit,” says Anil, who brought them from Vijayawada and sells them on the street near Goshamahal for a dozen for ₹60. Among the diyas, there is one in the form of palms joined in prayer.

“The days of chocolates as Deepavali gifts are over. It’s back to sweets and dried fruits this year,” says a dried fruit wholesaler near Begum Bazaar Chatri. The alley shops are full of bags of dried fruits ranging from boxes of pistachios and nuts to transparent bags filled with cashews. “Most of our buyers come from neighborhoods or places far from the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were asked to have dried fruit and our sales have increased since then,” explains the wholesaler.

Among the buyers was Charan Singh who came down from Bahadurpura to buy what is called bhandoli. “These are used as decorative centerpieces at Deepavali night at our house. They are filled with sweets which are then distributed,” he explains of the small, brightly decorated clay pots that are stacked on top of each other.

A store owner arranging boxes of assorted sweets.

A store owner arranging boxes of assorted sweets. | Photo credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Elsewhere, Prince Sahu peddles the sweets that are part of this sweet decoration. “Some people buy these candied toys while others use them for decoration before eating them,” he says, explaining the range of candies that includes colorful toys to a thin sheet of transparent candies called “chapda”.

Then there is a shop specializing in miniature dresses and saris which will be used to dress Goddess Lakshmi on the evening of the festival. A dress with fake jewelry costs ₹270 (without bargain).

With no designated parking spaces, chaos and raw nerves are the norm. But as buyers and sellers strike deals, a festive bonhomie reigns. Then the next round of tough negotiations begins.

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