Ganesh (or Ganesha) is one of the most popular and well-known of the Hindu gods. He is the remover of obstacles and is invoked when a new task is about to begin. He is portrayed with an elephant head. His wives are Buddhi (attainment), Riddhi (propserity) and Siddhi (attainment). He is the son of Parvati and younger brother of Kartikeya.

Birth and Elephant Head

Ganesha's birth is the subject of many tales. He is usually considered the son of Shiva and Parvati, with many tales describing him as created by one parent only. In a common account, Parvati created Ganesh to guard the door while she bathed. She had previously asked her husband's servant Nandi, to do so. However, he was loyal first to Shiva himself and, when Shiva asked to enter, Nandi let him pass. Enraged at this, Parvati created Ganesh out of turmeric paste

As she was taking a bath, her husband came to see her. Ganesh, not knowing who he was, stopped Shiva from entering the cave where they lived, claiming his mother was inside. Shiva, angered by his insolence and insubordination, immediately beheaded him. When Parvati finished, she came outside and saw her dead son upon the ground. She asked Shiva to bring him back to life and, having cooled down, he complied. He sent Garuda to find the head of the first animal he saw and bring it to him. This head was that of an elephant. Thus Ganesh was brought back to life with an elephant head.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.