1/ 10 The elephant god, Ganesh, is the deity of prosperity and the artisans start sculpturing his idols two to three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi. When it comes to buying a Ganesh idol for the festival, most devotees are choosy and the selection is confirmed only after checking out the trunk on the idol. Ganesh idols come with three kinds of trunks - one curved towards left or Vamamukhi Vinayak, another with trunk curved towards right or Dakshin Murti and third one with a straight trunk curved upwards, or Sushumna; all auspicious in their own right. Reuters A Hindu priest performs prayers in front of a Ganesha idol at a pandal or makeshift stage.The whole community comes to worship Ganesha in these beautifully decorated tents, which also serve as venues for free medical check-ups, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, dramatic performances, playing films, singing devotional songs, and so on. during the ten spiritual days of the festival. Reuters Throughout the Ganesh Chathurthi festival, devotees give offerings of coconuts and flowers to appease Vinayak, the god of good fortune. Reuters Dancers bearing large arched frames decorated with peacock feathers perform an art form called kavadi during Vinayak Chathurthi. During their journey on foot, devotees smash coconuts as a symbol of offering their hearts to Ganesh. Reuters Ganesh idols are taken through the streets in a procession with millions of people accompanying the idol all the while dancing and singing. Everyone in the procession shouts "Ganapathi Bappa Morya" (Father Ganesh of mine) Reuters Devotees, with their faces covered in coloured powder, dance in an alley during the Ganesh Chathurthi procession. Reuters Devotees rejoice the birth of Lord Ganesh by dancing and singing along with the band during the Vinayak Chathurthi procession. Reuters Devotees carry idols of Lord Ganesh for the Visarjan ritual that marks the end of Ganesh Chathurthi Reuters Devotees splash water on an idol of Lord Ganesh, as it is carried for immersion on the last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Reuters The ten- day long Vinayak Chathurthi ends with the 'Ganesh Visarjan' where the idols are immersed in the water. It symbolises the seeing off of Ganesh in his journey towards his abode, Kailasa, while taking with him the impurities and misfortunes of mankind. Reuters
Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, marks the birth of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god in Hindu mythology. The 10-day-long festival represents the typical Indian celebratory madness, with colours, music and dance. This years it begins on 29 August and ends on 8 September.