Sri Katpaga Vinayagar Temple Walthamstow, London
Ganesha Chaturthi (Marathi: गणेश चतुर्थी, Hindi: गणेश चतुर्थी, Tamil: விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி Kannada: ಗಣೇಶ ಚತುರ್ಥೀ,Telugu: వినాయక చవితి), also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the Hindu festival of Ganesha also called Vinayagar in Tamil Nadu, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha (or Ganapati) (the names mean “Lord isha or pati of Shiva’s hosts gana) was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. However, while she bathed, Lord Shiva returned and as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged and severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant (in some versions, Airavata, the vehicle of the god Indra) in place of Ganesha’s head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.