Ganesh Chaturthi, or Vinayaka Chaturti, is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness. Ganesh Chaturthi 2011 date is September 1, Thursday. Ganesha is today worshipped around the world and the Elephant-faced god is one of the most popular deities associated with Hinduism.
Ganesha is the remover of obstacle - Vighneshwara or Vignaraja.
It is believed that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of clay and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door, Goddess Parvati went to have her bath. When her husband, Lord Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Ganesha did not allow Shiva to enter and finally an enraged Shiva severed the head of the child. Goddess Parvati returned to find her son dead and was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha and giving birth to elephant-headed Ganesha.
Offerings to the Lord, called neivedhyam, consist of varieties of modaks++ (known in the south as kozhukattai), both sweet and savory, raw rice idli (steamed dumplings), payasam (a sweet, milk-based dessert) and optionally, specially prepared ellurundai (til seed balls) and appams (sweetened rice pancakes) Coconut, betel leaves and nuts and a variety of fruits make up the rest.
A look at the various Ganesha idols installed across the country
An artist gives an Anna Hazare touch to an idol of Lord Ganesh ahead of 'Ganesh Chaturthi' in Ahmedabad
Ganesh idol made of rice and pulses in Navi Mumbai
Ganesh idol is given the "Anna Hazare look" in Ahmednagar
The elephant God is travelling in an elephant-like vehicle during a procession in Moradabad
A 55 feet clay Ganesh idol is installed at Durgam Cheruvu Lake in Hyderabad. This idol made of clay reclaimed from the lake, is the first attempt to install a eco-Ganesha in Hyderabad.
Devotees worship an idol of elephant-headed God Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad
World Cup Ganesha is paraded on the streets of Hanamkonda in Warangal district.
An idol of elephant-headed God Ganesha, depicted as seated on the shoulders of Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as other cricketers cheer, is taken for immersion in the River Sabarmati on the ninth day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad.
Lord Ganesha mounts on Garuda as Sesha Nag is seen behind, in this idol displayed in Khairatabad, Hyderabad. Garuda and Sesha Nag are the vehicles of Lord Vishnu
An artist works on a Ganesh idol made out of 30,000 paper cups in Hyderabad
Devotees carry an idol of God Ganesh during a procession to immerse it in the Arabian Sea at the end of the ten day festival in Mumbai.
Mumbai's famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh idol on the way to immersion at Girgaum Chowpatty at the end of ten-day long Ganesh festival, in Mumbai.
Devotees carry an idol of elephant-headed God Ganesha for immersion in the River Tawi during Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Jammu.
An idol of god Ganesh is taken for immersion in River Tawi in Jammu.
A 121-kg silver idol of Lord Ganesh during a Ganesh Chaturthi procession in Hubli