The Significance of Ganesha’s Elephant Head

        Ganesha is one of the most important gods in Hinduism. He’s most commonly depicted with the head of an elephant. Why does Ganesha have the head of an elephant, and what is its significance in Hinduism?

        Ganesha is honored as the god of many things. He’s a god of beginnings, a remover of obstacles, and representative of the first chakra. Above all, though, he is a god of knowledge. In India, elephants are symbols of wisdom and intellect.

        Ganesha’s story is that his mother, Parvati, wanted to have a bath. She created she created Ganesha to guard her as the bathed. His father, Lord Shiva, wanted to come in and Ganesha wouldn’t let him, not knowing who he was. Lord Shiva was so enraged that he cut off Ganesha’s head. Parvati was overcome with grief upon learning this, and Lord Shiva grieved too after learning Ganesha was his own son. Shiva then went out and cut the head off the first animal he found, which happened to be an elephant, and Ganesha was brought back to life. 

       Ganesha is often revered as a remover of obstacles, and it matches well with the elephant symbolism. When an obstacle is in an elephant’s path, the remove it and keep right on going. As elephants are the symbol of wisdom and intellect, this shows that having knowledge and wisdom can help you overcome obstacles.


         It’s also said that Ganesha broke off his own tusk in order to write one of India’s most epic poems, the Mahabharata. When his pen broke, he did not want to interrupt his work, and broke off his own tusk. He’s seen as a patron of knowledge.


         If you would like to be closer to Ganesha and reap his blessings, consider our Ganesha tapestry, or an elephant tapestry to channel the wisdom of the elephant. Burn some incense from our Ganesha incense holder and breathe in Ganesha’s wisdom.