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A figurine of Ganesha made of clay

Ganesha or (Ganesh) was the elephant-headed god in Hinduism. He was the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesha is a very popular god in Hinduism, and was one of the most worshipped. Hindu tradition states that Ganesha was a god of wisdom, success and good luck. He was also giver of different types of favors. The Hindu tradition calls Ganesha as the Vighneshvara. "Vighneshvara" in Sanskrit language means one who was the lord of obstacles or difficulties. Thus, the Hindu tradition states that by worshiping Ganesha, one can remove all obstacles and difficulties.

His worship

There are many temples (mandirs) of Ganesha, however in many Hindu temples there are statues and carvings. But, in most of the temples of Hindus, people worship Ganesha. Hindu Tradition gives Ganesha an important place. The tradition says that Hindus should worship their religious functions and ceremonies because he is the god of all obstacles. Generally, many Hindus also worship Ganesha before starting any new thing. Thus, for example, before occupying a new house


There are many stories of lord Ganesha's birth. The popular and widely-held version is as follows:

A story says that one day, Goddess Parvati was taking a bath at home. She did not want anyone to disturb her. She created a boy with her powers, and told him to guard and not let anyone in. When Lord Shiva came home, he wanted to come inside but the boy would not let him. Lord Shiva asked his army to make him go away, but his army failed. Finally, Shiva just cut the boy’s head off. When Parvati had heard what had happened, she was angry. She pleaded with Shiva to save him. Lord Shiva sent his army to go find a head for Ganesha. His army came back with an elephant head.

His image

Any picture, image or portrayal in any form of Ganesha generally has the following characteristics or features:

  • He has the head of an elephant.
  • He is shown with a big body, showing that the entire universe is inside him.
  • His colour is red, orange, or yellow.
  • Generally, he has four arms, and sometimes three eyes.
  • He carries a mala (garland) and certain other items like a lotus flower.
  • He sits generally with a bowl of sweets (laddus or modaks) before him.
  • A mouse or rat will be near Ganesha. He uses a mouse (rat) as his mount (vahans).

He is often different in each picture, unlike most Hindu gods.

Other names

Ganesha has several other names. Some of his names are:

  • Gajanana
  • Heramba
  • Pillaiyar
  • Vinayaka
  • Ekdanta
  • Vakratunda
  • Krishnapingaksha
  • Gajavaktra
  • Bhalchandra
  • Lambodar
  • Vikatmev
  • Vighnaraj
  • Dhumravarna
  • Ganesh
  • Ganapati
  • Supradipa