Ilford Hindus take Lord Ganesh statue to be dissolved in the sea
A clay statue of Hindu deity Lord Ganesh was taken by 150 of his followers to be dissolved in the English Channel.
Members of the Ilford Hindu Centre took the statue to Brighton on Saturday to bring good luck for the new year and as a form of worship known as puja.
The festival, called Ganesha Chaturthi, commemorates when Ganesh was resurrected to Earth with the head of an elephant.
Priest at the centre, Dharmesh Mishra said: “It’s the birthday [of Lord Ganesh] so everybody does puja for 11 days after immersing it in water.”
Lord Ganesh is the son of Shiva and Parvati. Mr Mishra said: “Parvati and Shiva are the most powerful god and goddess in Hindu culture. Ganesh symbolises creation, power, wealth and wisdom.”
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Hindus believe that when Parvati was having a bath she told her son Ganesh to guard the door.
His father Shiva had been away hunting for a long time and did not recognise his son and beheaded him on his return. Parvati demanded her son back so Shiva cut the head of an elephant.
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Mr Mishra said: “Parvati said only to get the head from an infant who was not asleep with its mother, so he took the [elephant’s] head off and put it on the boy’s body, and that is how Lord Ganesh was formed.”
During the festival people give offerings and pray in the morning and evening.
Vijay Khetarpal, secretary of the centre in Albert Road, Ilford, said: “Whatever power he has, has to be distributed through the whole world.
“If you put it in the water during the ceremony the power goes into the water and is distributed so brings it to everyone.”