Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश, IAST: Gaṇeśa), also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon

His image is found throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia (Java and Bali), Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Bangladesh and in countries with large ethnic Indian populations including Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago

Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations

Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains and Buddhists

Although Ganesha has many attributes, he is readily identified by his elephant head

He is widely revered, more specifically, as the remover of obstacles and thought to bring good luck; the patron of arts and sciences; and the deva of intellect and wisdom

As the god of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rites and ceremonies

Ganesha is also invoked as a patron of letters and learning during writing sessions

Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits

An elephant–headed anthropomorphic figure on Indo-Greek coins from the 1st century BCE has been proposed by some scholars to be “incipient Ganesha”, while others have suggested Ganesha may have been an emerging deity in India and southeast Asia around the 2nd century CE based on the evidence from archaeological excavations in Mathura and outside India

Most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta period, Ganesha was well established and had inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors

Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva of the Shaivism tradition, but he is a pan-Hindu god found in its various traditions

In the Ganapatya tradition of Hinduism, Ganesha is the supreme deity

The principal texts on Ganesha include the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana and the Ganapati Atharvasirsha

Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana are other two Puranic genre encyclopaedic texts that deal with Ganesha