Ganesha, the god of wisdom, whose celebrations are organised every year with great pomp and show in Maharashtra, is the favourite deity of the region. His fat and chubby body are exquisitely modelled depicting all the required details of his iconography. He holds his broken tusk, a bowl of sweets and a lotus bud in three hands. The fourth, the upper right hand is broken. Ganesha wears a serpent girdle tied with a knot in the front. His mount mushaka (rat) occupies a prominent position on the pedestal.
Among the many stories about how Ganesha got his elephant head, this one from the Puranas is the most popular: Parvati, consort of Shiva, prepared for her bath after a long period of austerities. From the dust and oil of her body, she created an image of a boy and bid him stand guard. While she was bathing, Shiva returned from his meditations and was stopped by the boy. The angry Shiva cut off his head. Seeing this, Parvati was distraught and furious. She threatened to take on the form of Shakti and destroy the heavens and the earth. To pacify her, Shiva sent his Ganas to bring him the first
head facing North (the direction associated with wisdom). The first head was an elephant’s. Shiva placed the head on the boy’s body, with the blessing that Ganesha would be the first to be worshipped on every auspicious occasion.
11th Century CE
Jondhali Baug, Thane dist., Maharashtra
54.5 x 38 x 24.1 cms.