Ganesha is worshipped as the lord of beginnings and as the lord of removing obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the god of intellect and wisdom. Ganesh was the son of the God Shiva and Parvati.
Hindu mythology presents many stories, which explain how Ganesha obtained his elephant head. The large ears are said to denote wisdom and the ability to listen to people who seek help.
One day, Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, was getting ready for her bath and needed someone to guard her chamber. Therefore she made a beautiful, young boy from the sandalwood from her body. She gave him life by sprinkling the Holy Ganges water on him and entrusted him with guarding the door. While she was away, Lord Shiva returned and was surprised to find a little boy standing at the entrance to his wife’s chamber. When he tried to enter, the boy blocked his path.
“Who are you and why are you blocking my path?” demanded Lord Shiva.
“No one enters my mother’s chamber”, declared the boy boldly.
Taken aback, Lord Shiva replied, “Step away; I have the right to enter my wife’s chamber.”
But the young and courageous boy did not move but stood his ground. Not knowing that this was his own son, Lord Shiva who was quick to anger grew enraged. Not used to be disobeyed he cut off the boy’s head. Goddess Parvati on returning from her bath saw her son lying dead and was overcome with grief. She was filled with both anger and sorrow. Seeing this Lord Shiva sent his soldiers to fetch the head of the first beast that they saw. The men rushed and finally came upon an elephant. They immediately took the head to Lord Shiva, who quickly attached it onto the body of the slain boy and gave him life once again. To further appease his grief-stricken wife he promised that her son would be worshipped first, before all other Gods.
Even today at the entrance of all temples one would find the idol of the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha.