Legend has it that Goddess Parvati created Ganesha out of the sandalwood dough that she used for her bath and breathed life into him. Letting him stand guard at the door she went to have her bath. When her husband, Lord Shiva returned, the child who had never seen him stopped him. Shiva severed the head of the child and entered his house. Parvati, learning that her son was dead, was distraught and asked Shiva to revive him. Shiva cut off the head of an elephant and fixed it on the body of Ganesha.There are numerous stories in Hindu mythology, associated with the birth of this elephant-headed god, whose vehicle is the Mooshak or rat and who loves Modaks (droplet shaped Indian sweet).
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on the birthday (i.e., today) of Lord Ganesh, the god of wisdom and prosperity on the fourth day of the moon’s bright fortnight.The celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi continue for two, five, seven, or ten days…most popular being ten days. It is said that the monsoon rains stop as soon as the immersion of the idol is done after ten days. And, it does!
Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work by the Hindus. It is believed that for the fulfillment of one’s desires, his blessing is absolutely necessary. According to the Hindu mythology, he is the son of Shiva and Parvati, brother of Kartikeya (Murugha) – the general of the gods, Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and Saraswati-the goddess of learning.
With the immersion of the idol amidst the chanting of “Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai!” (Hail Lord Ganesh!) – the festival ends with pleas to Ganesha to return the next year with chants of “Ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya” ( meaning : Hail Lord Ganesh! return again soon next year)
In Maharashtra state and particularly in Mumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and the immersion of the Elephant God are elaborate activities and it is a major festival, running into cost of several lakhs of rupees. Many believe that, underworld Dons sponsor the heavy expenses of this festival conducted at certain locations of Mumbai!!