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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 09/01/2011

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hindu festival for Lord Ganesh, begins (photos)


Hindu devotees carry an idol of elephant-headed god Ganesh for immersion in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai. (Arko Datta - Reuters)
Celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi begin Thursday, but the preparations for the festival of the elephant-headed god Ganesh started months before. Clay idols of Ganesh, some of them less than an inch tall, others more than 25 feet, require some lead time.

Today, Hindus across India, Nepal, the U.S., Canada, Fiji and other locales will bring home those carefully made idols in the hopes they can invoke the god’s blessings for wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

After 10 days of keeping Ganesh at home, devotees will bring the thousands of idols out onto the streets, where they will be carried in a procession of dancing and singing and then immersed in a river or sea.


Hindu devotees pull an idol of elephant-headed god Ganesh for immersion in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai in 2004. (Arko Datta - Reuters)
See photos of the idols and preparations for the festival below:


Indian collector Pabsetti Shekhar offers prayers to idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesh he has collected at his home in Hyderabad, Inidia. Shekar, 49, holds the largest private collection of 11,522 Ganesh idols. (Noah Seelam - AFP/Getty Images)


Indian Hindus carry idols of elephant-headed god Ganesh on a truck ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad, India. (Mahesh Kumar A. - AP)

An Indian roadside vendor emerges from his shanty as idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh are displayed for sale under a plastic tent to protect from rain in Jammu, India. (Channi Anand - AP)

Devotees carry an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god Lord Ganesh on a truck in Mumbai. (Punit Paranjpe - AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian Hindu devotee prepares to take home an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh after buying it from a roadside vendor in Jammu, India. (Channi Anand - AP)


Indian devotees offer prayers to an elephant on the occasion of the Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi in Ahmedabad. (Sampanthaky - AFP/Getty Images)

Indian designer Visheshwar Rao gives instructions to workers during the final preparations on an ecologically friendly idol of the Hindu God Lord Ganesh, made from paper cups, at his workshop in Hyderabad. (Noah Seelam - AFP/Getty Images)


People transport an idol of elephant headed Hindu god Ganesh on a bullock cart ahead of Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai. (Rajanish Kakade - AP)

By  |  10:28 AM ET, 09/01/2011

 
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