The Ganesh Festival is underway again. This year the 10-day festival started on Saturday 11th September and will end on Wednesday 22nd September when the Ganesh idols are immersed in water.
Lord Ganesh is the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati and is the god of wisdom, knowledge, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesh is one of the five main Hindu deities with Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four. The elephant head represents the soul whilst the human body represents the earthly existence of humans.
The Ganesh festival takes place every year. It is a calendar-moving festival being based on cycles of the moon – the festival starts on the 4th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Bhaadrapada (the festival typically starts on a date between 20th August and 15th September).
Millions of people will immerse themselves and idols of Ganesha in water.
Whilst the festival is celebrated all over India (and by Hindus all over the world), probably the biggest celebration is in Mumbai.
Mumbai will have over 15,000 police on duty to handle security, traffic and crowd control. There will also be over 200 lifeguards on duty and even the navy is on standby.
Although the largest crowds will be in Mumbai, the largest Ganesh idol is in Coimbatore (also in Tamil Nadu). The idol is 10 foot (3 metres) tall, weighs 110 tons and has been carved out of a single block of stone. This is indeed an impressive idol and presently it is decorated with 3 tons of flowers. Prayers at the idol have been calling for an end to international terrorism.