Ganapati

Ganesha
(Sanskrit: गणेश, Tamil: கணபதி, Gaṇeśa; About this soundlisten (help·info)), also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar and Binayak, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bali (Indonesia), Bangladesh and Nepal.Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains and Buddhists.

Although He is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes Him easy to identify.Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles,the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom.As the God of beginnings, He is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits. Ganesha likely emerged as a deity as early as the 2nd century CE,but most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta period, although He inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors.Hindu mythology identifies Him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva of the Shaivism tradition, but He is a pan-Hindu God found in its various traditions.In the Ganapatya tradition of Hinduism, Ganesha is the supreme deity.The principal texts on Ganesha include the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana are other two Puranic genre encyclopedic texts that deal with Ganesha.

Ganesha Chaturthi

Street festivities in Hyderabad, India during the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi
An annual festival honours Ganesha for ten days, starting on Ganesha Chaturthi, which typically falls in late August or early September.The festival begins with people bringing in clay idols of Ganesha, symbolising the god's visit. The festival culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi, when the idols (murtis) are immersed in the most convenient body of water.Some families have a tradition of immersion on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, or 7th day. In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed this annual Ganesha festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event.He did so "to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them" in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra.Because of Ganesha's wide appeal as "the god for Everyman", Tilak chose him as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule.Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of submerging all the public images on the tenth day.Today, Hindus across India celebrate the Ganapati festival with great fervour, though it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra.The festival also assumes huge proportions in Mumbai, Pune, and in the surrounding belt of Ashtavinayaka temples.

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