The past few days I've noticed a feverish mood in the local markets as I walk along, with dozens of stands and shops selling little elephants. Some are in bright colors, while others are made of clay. All come in a variety of sizes, from 10" or so to 25 feet high. And all this frenzy is just a hint of what's to come I'm told.
In the Times of India, they explain that "As Ganesh Chaturthi draws closer, the markets are reverberating with the sounds of skilled idol makers giving the final, finishing touches to the lovable, elephant god which is visible on every alley and bylane, all through Vishveshpuram and a few other areas of Bangalore. We see tiny figurines to massive Ganesha idols measuring 25 feet high that are beautifully molded in plaster of paris, decorated and depicted in various postures, colors and sizes. (More >>)
Apparently, according to local friends here, Ganesha is revered quite fondly. "Wait until tomorrow night, I will take you to a crazy festival" Rajeev told me. Meanwhile Sri said that the Ganesh Chaturthi is like the beginning of a festival season, which starts with Lord Ganesha but then continues with other festivals that go on up until January.
So folks, I guess I am in India at a good time; I side-stepped the brunt of Monsoon season, and now get to enjoy festival season.
They say; "when in Rome ...," so I just bought a little Lord Ganesha (below) to keep in my apartment. hey, as my mom always said, "It can't hurt."
According to Wikipedia, Ganesha (also spelled Ganesa, and also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar) emerged as a distinct deity in clearly recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta Period. He is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshiped in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations.Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.
Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him particularly easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश; IAST: Vighneśa),Vighneshvara (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश्वर; IAST: Vighneśvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.
He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotesassociated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography. More>>