Click through to see photos from this year's Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

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  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Hindu devotees transport a statue of elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    An Indian woman waits for customers as she sells statues of elephant headed Hindu god Ganesha on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian Hindu women dance during a procession ahead of the Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept.18, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian Hindus take part in a procession ahead of the Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept.18, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian Hindus take out a procession ahead of the Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept.18, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian Hindu women dance during a procession ahead of the Ganesh Chaturti festival in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Sept.18, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    An Indian woman paints Ganesh statues which are displayed for sale on a footpath as her child rests on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturti festival in Bhubaneswar, India, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    An Indian woman sits pillion on a bike carrying a statue of elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha in Hyderabad, India, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    In this Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 photo, statues of elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha are kept for sale beside a stall selling snacks in Hyderabad, India. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A.)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    A young Indian boy sits near the finished clay statues of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha, for sale for the upcoming Ganesh festival, at Godisahi village on the outskirts of the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Rajesh Pasi, an Indian prisoner gives finishing touches to clay statues of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha ahead of the Ganesh festival, at the Central Jail in Ahmadabad, India, Monday, Sept.10, 2012. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Devotees take a procession with a statue of Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh carried by monkey god Hanuman in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Devotees take a procession with a statue of Hindu elephant headed god "Ganesh" in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian designer Sudhakar Yadav (C) stands next to his statue of Hindu God Lord Ganesha sitting on a mechanised moving mouse in Hyderabad on September 18, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ Noah SEELAM

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Indian collectors Pabsetti Shekhar (sitting-L) and his wife Pabsetti Anuradha perform ritual prayers to statues of the elephant headed Hindu Lord Ganesh at his home in Hyderabad on September 18, 2012, during the festival Ganesh Chaturthi. Shekhar, 50, holds the largest private collection of 12,022 Ganesh statues. AFP PHOTO / Noah SEELAM

  • Ganesh Chaturthi

    Devotees take a procession with a statue of Hindu elephant headed god "Ganesh" in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • Artisans give finishing touches to clay statues of elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha ahead of the Ganesh festival, at a workshop near Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It is a 10-day festival marking the birthday of Ganesh, who is widely worshiped for auspicious beginnings. Ganesh is the patron of arts and sciences, the deity of intellect and wisdom and identified by his elephant head.

In 2012, Ganesh Chaturthi, which is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada starts on Sept. 19 and lasts until Sept. 29.

Ganesh Chaturthi
is celebrated all over India and among the Hindu Indian diaspora, and it is observed in an especially grand manner in Maharashtra.

Prior to the festival, skilled artisans prepare clay models of Lord Ganesh. Houses are cleaned as devotees prepare to bring the Lord Ganesh into their homes and install the deity. Special prayers, devotional chanting and singing are performed on all 10 days. Delicious sweets are prepared and distributed on this joyous occasion. On the 11th day, the Ganesh statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea.

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