To go and photograph Ganesh’s birthday party is a pretty open invitation. The two-week event sees Mumbai filled with statues of one of Hinduisms most prolific gods, he of elephant head and four arms, said to have been born of Shiva and Parvati.
Mumbaikars will make statues of Ganesha welcome in their homes and places of worship, these range in size from half a metre to ten metres. For the duration of the festival, the devoted will make offerings to Ganesh, sweets (Modak), and prayers. An environment of growth, love and worship feeds Ganesh and the city itself, calling moments of riotous hubbub and meditative calm.
At the end of this ten-day period those most-worshipped and cared for statues (some have already moved on), are carried throughout the day and night in a crescendo of joy and struggle, throughout the city and to the sea, where they are submerged, and left to dissolve into the waters. All pray that Ganesh will return a year later, to be worshipped in the physical world again.