These beautiful idols of Hindu elephant god are making their way to homes all across India today

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Every year, during the months of August and September, India gears up to welcome the elephant god.

The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, who is considered the symbol of prosperity, good fortune, wisdom and health. He is also known by 108 other names.

Typically, families bring home an idol of Lord Ganesh—the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati—for two to 21 days. The festival, which starts today (Sept. 17) this year, ends with the immersion of these idols in water bodies.

Massive Ganesh’s sculptures are also installed in pandals (canopies) with extravagant decorations. These pandals are open to public and are a common sight in Maharashtra.

In Mumbai, several Ganpatis are decorated with real gold jewellery worth millions of rupees, and Bollywood stars often visit the famous pandals, sometimes with first prints of their upcoming films. A devotee may have to wait for 24 to 48 hours before they can offer prayers at these famous pandals.

Indian artisans spend months sculpting these idols, which are generally made of clay and then decorated with paint.

Quartz brings you a collection of photos, starting from a couple of months before the festival till the day of Ganesh Chaturthi:

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An artisan works on an idol of Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, at a workshop in Mumbai, on July 2.(Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)
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Commuters walk through an alley as an unfinished idol of Ganesh is kept outside a studio in Kolkata, on Sept. 13.(AP Photo/ Bikas Das)
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An artisan gives finishing touches to the idols of Ganesh in Allahabad, on Sept. 8.(AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
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An artisan prepares an idol of Ganesh in Ahmadabad, on July 9.(AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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A boy sits next to his father as he gives final touches to the idols of Lord Ganesh in New Delhi, on Sept. 9.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
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An artisan paints idols of Lord Ganesh in Allahabad, on Sept. 8.(AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
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A street vendor decorates idols of Ganesh displayed for sale ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, on Aug.17.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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An artisan gives final touches to the idols of Ganesh in New Delhi, on Sept. 9.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
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An artist paints idols of Ganesh being prepared ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, on Aug.17.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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An artist paints idols of elephant headed Ganesh being prepared ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, on Aug.17.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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An elderly Muslim man walks past idols of Ganesh displayed on a footpath for sale ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Bengaluru, on Aug. 3.(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
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An idol of elephant-headed Ganesh being carried for sale ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmadabad, on Sept. 15.(AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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Devotees carry an idol of Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, while it is carried to a place of worship in Ahmedabad, on Sept. 16.(Reuters/Amit Dave)
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Devotees carry an idol of Ganesh from a workshop to a worship venue ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, on Sept. 13.(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
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Devotees participate in a procession with large statues of Ganesh in Mumbai, on Aug. 30.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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