Lord Ganesha is brought into one's house by many Hindus on Ganesha Chaturthi and kept for upto ten days. He is then immersed in waters of ponds, rivers or sea on the Visarjana day. In the state of Maharashtra these ten days are celebrated with maximum vigour in the country.
Ganesha is widely known as the remover of obstacles. Before undertaking any activity, Hindus never fail to first pray to Ganesha to ensure the removal of any obstacles and make an auspicious begining. Rare will be a Hindu home where Ganesha will not be found in one of his many forms.In fact he is artistically the most widely represented of all the Hindu gods.
Amongst the many titles Ganesha is known by, the two most common are Ganpati and Vighneshwara (remover of obstacles. In the Ganesha Sahasranama , he has thousand names and each conveys a different meaning and represents a different aspect of Ganesha. Ganesha is supposed to be a Sanskrit compound of Gana meaning many and isha meaning lord or master. Thus Ganesha means lord or master of many.
The son of Lord shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephant head. The most common legend is that an infuriated Shiva on not being allowed to meet a bathing Parvati by the guarding Ganesha, in anger beheaded him. When Parvati informed him that he was their son a repetant Shiva attached the first head he saw which happened to be of an elephant on the beheaded Ganesha. Ganesha is thus also known as Gajanana or Gajapati.(Gaja in Sanskrit means elephant).
Ganesha is also known as Ekdanta as one of his tusks is broken off. He is also known as Lambodara meaning having a pot belly or hanging belly.
Ganesha's vehicle or Vahana isthe tiny rat known as musaka in Sanskrit. It is also interpreted as the ability of Ganesha to be everywhere just as the mouse can go even to the most secret spaces. The rat is always placed near to his feet.
While Ganesha is known as both creator and remover of obstacles he is also respected and worshipped as the Lord of letters and learning. Thus one of his names is Buddhipriya meaning fond of intelligence. The concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi ( spritual power) and Riddhi (prosperity) are also associated with Ganesha.
The worship of Ganesha in the open was popularised by Lokmanya Tilak in 1893 as a manner of bringing all castes of Hindus together and also as a means of putting up a joint fight against the British. Since then it has turned into an annual ritual celebrated with lot of music,color and vigour by Hindus especially in Maharatshtra, for a period of ten days begining from Ganesha Chaturthi, when varying sizes of Ganesha idols made of clay are installed in houses and pandals.
Ganeshai s the most popular of the many Indian gods and the one most liked by all age groups especially the children. The cry of Ganpati bapa mourya,aavta varshi lokariya fills revereberates throughout on the day of Visarjana in the country.