The most famous and worshipped Hindu deity is Ganesha (Sanskrit: Ganesha, IAST: Ga*e*a), also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka. Other countries with large ethnic Indian populations include Fiji, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago. India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia (Java and Bali), Malaysia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh feature the image. All Hindu denominations worship Ganesha regardless of affiliation. Buddhists and Jains also enjoy it greatly.
He is easily identified by his elephant-headed form, as well as his many other attributes. As the deva of intellect and wisdom, he is hailed for removing obstacles and patronizing the arts and sciences. His honor is accorded at the beginning of ritual events. Writing sessions are also dedicated to Ganesha as patron of letters and learning. His birth and exploits are described in a number of mythological accounts.
Several scholars have suggested that a figure on Indo-Greek coins from the 1st century BCE is the "incipient Ganesha,"
According to archaeological excavations in Mathura and outside India, Ganesha may have emerged as a deity in India and Southeast Asia around the 2nd-century CE.
Ganesha was well established by the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta period, and had inherited traits from both Vedic and pre-Vedic ancestors. Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva, but he can be found in various Hindu traditions. Ganesha is the supreme deity in the Ganapatya tradition of Hinduism. A few of the main texts pertaining to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, and Ganapati Atharvashirsa. In addition to Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana, two encyclopaedic texts of the Puranic genre deal with Ganesh.
Indian art often depicts Ganesha. Ganesha's representations have shown wide variations and distinctive patterns over time, unlike that of some deities. Standing, dancing, taking heroic action against demons, playing with his family as a boy, or seated or even lying down on an elevated seat are all possible examples.