Lord Ganesh 

Ganesh —the  elephant - deity  riding  on  mouse —has become  one  of  the  commonest mnemonics for  anything associated   with  Hinduism  and also  Indian  culture. This  not only   suggests  the importance of Ganesh, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity  is in  the  minds  of  the masses. The son of Lord Shiv and  the  goddess  Parvati  Ganesh,  has  an  elephantine countenance  with  a  curved  trunk  and  big  ears ,  and  a  huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer  of  evils  and  obstacles . He is also worshipped as the god  of  education, knowledge, wealth wisdom and happiness. In fact ,  Ganesh  is  one of  the  five  prime  Hindu deities (Brahm  Vishnu, Shiva  and  Durga  being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as panchayatan puja.  

Ganesh's head symbolizes the Atman or the divine soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesh holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesh's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties. The broken tusk that Ganesh holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.  

The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her house. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy's head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any aliving  who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name 'Ganapati'. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.    

Since then, it is said, no new venture - the inauguration of accompany, the opening of a shop, the foundation of a building, entering a new home - is deemed complete by Hindus without a Ganesh puja.  Ancient Hindu texts are filled with tales about Lord Ganesh, his powers, wisdom and goodness, one of the most delightful being the one about a contest between him and his brother, Kartikeya. Kartikeya was very proud of his mount, the peacock, and his own speed and efficiency, challenged lord Ganesh to a race around the world 7 times. While Kartikeya made a tour of the world thrice, Ganesh just encircled lord Shiva and goddess Parvati, his parents 7 times, and claimed victory. The story is often related to inculcate in children the importance of God and their parents.              

Lord Ganesh has two wives named Hriddhi and Siddhi and two sons named Shubh and Labh. There are many forms of Lord Ganesh some of them are as follows

Child is the “Childlike” God of golden hue. He holds a banana, mango, sugarcane and jackfruit in his hands, all representing the earth's abundance and fertility. He garners his favorite sweet modaka in his trunk

Youth is eight armed and holds a noose and goad, modaka, wood apple, rose apple, his broken tusk, a sprig of paddy and a sugar cane stalk. His blossoming youth is represented from his brilliant red color.

Brave is a “Valliant Warrior” and assumes a commanding pose. His sixteen arms bristle with weapons, symbols of mind powers: a goad, discus, bow, arrow, sword, shield, spear, mace, a battleaxe, a trident and more.

Power Four-armed and seated with one of his shaktis on his knee, Shakti Ganapati guards the household. He holds a garland, noose and goad and bestows blessings with the abhaya mudra.

Siddhi Golden-yellow Siddhi Ganpati is the personification of achievement and self-mastery. He comfortably sits holding a bouquet of flowers, an axe, mango, sugarcane and in his trunk a tasty sesame sweet.

Lord of  blessings offerings” Ucchhishta Ganapati is the guardian of culture. He is of blue complexion and is six armed. He sits with his shakti, holding a vina, pomegranate, blue lotus flower, japa mala and a sprig of fresh paddy.

Lord of obstacles Vighna Ganapati, is of brilliant gold hue and bedecked in jewels. His eight arms hold a noose and goad, tusk and modaka, conch and discus, a bouquet of flowers, sugarcane, flower arrow and an axe.

Wealth Lakshmi Ganapati is the pure white giver of success. He holds a green parrot, a pomegranate, sword, goad and a water vessel.

Victory Four-armed, red-hued and riding his resourceful mushika, Vijaya Ganpati is the bestower of success. His symbols are the broken tusk, elephant goad, a noose and a golden mango, his favorite food.

Dance the happy dancer is four armed and golden in color, with rings on his figures, holding a tusk, goad, noose and modaka. He symbolizes exuberant activity and joy.

The lord of three words (A-U-M) Tryakshara Ganapati is gold in color and has fly whisks in his big floppy ears. He carries the broken tusk, goad, noose and mango and is seen grasping sweet modaka in his trunk.

Yoga  Ganapati is absorbed in mantra japa. His knees are strapped in meditative pose, hands holding a yoga staff, sugar cane stalk, a noose and prayer beads. The color of his skin is like the morning sun and blue garments adorn his form.

Ganesh is remembered on  chaturthi, the 4th day of every month of the Hindu calendere, but most of all on Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated as his birthday. Ladoos are distributed on the day-by tradition ladoos were placed in different corners of the house and eaten before the meal. Milk is offered to idols of lord Ganesh at home and at temples, and Ganesh puja is performed at all temples and hi-house prayer rooms. Fasting, feasting and distribution of sweets offered to Lord Ganesh are important aspects of Ganesh chaturthi rituals in India. Hindus pray to images of Lord Ganesh, large and small, many of them made specially for the occasion by cottage industries and street side artisans, and those that do not wish to keep the idols alive by daily prayers, offerings and lighting oil lamps, immerse them in the nearest water body (all rivers, lakes and the sea which are sacred to Hindus).  

Ganesh chaturthi was further promoted by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who brought to the cause of independence a fire of religious revivalism. Tilak (1856-1920) was a Maharashtrian Brahmin from Poona, who believed that self government could not be achieved by co-operating with the British. He thought their shold some religious function  to gather and motivate indian community so that people could awake  and organized against british so he started Ganesh festival initially in Maharashtra later it became so much popular throughout India.