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Photographer's Note

Ganesha is one of the most worshipped deities by the Hindu community in India. Ganesha is held to be the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is known in various names in India, however the elephant head makes him easy to identify. He is honoured at the beginning of any rituals and ceremonies as Lord of Beginnings.

Hindu mythology presents many stories, which explain how Ganesha obtained his elephant head but the most popular story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana. Once, while his mother Parvati wanted to take a bath, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she created an image of a boy out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body (turmeric was used for its antiseptic and cooling properties), and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house, and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders. After a while Shiva returned from outside, and as he tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated at this strange little boy who dared to challenge him. He told Ganesha that he was Parvati's husband, and demanded that Ganesha let him go in. But Ganesha would not hear any person's word other than his dear mother's. Shiva lost his patience and had a fierce battle with Ganesha. At last he severed Ganesha's head with his trishula. When Parvati came out and saw her son's lifeless body, she was very angry and sad. She demanded that Shiva restore Ganesha's life at once.

Unfortunately, Shiva's trishula was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha's head very far off. All attempts to find the head were in vain. As a last resort, Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace Ganesha's head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his celestial armies to find and take the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing north. They found a dying elephant which slept in this manner, and after its death took its head, attaching the elephant's head to Ganesha's body and bringing him back to life. From then on, he was called Ganapathi, head of the celestial armies, and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity.

This picture captures an uncommon Ganesha formation in the roots of an old banyan tree, on the bank of the river Ganges which is very similar to the popular pictures of Lord Ganesha.

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Viewed: 1990
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Additional Photos by Imaging Life (imaginglife) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 24 W: 0 N: 20] (238)
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