Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is invoked as Vighneswara when an event or business is begun by majority of the Hindus as he is believed to be the remover of obstacle. He is considered as the God of auspicious beginnings and bestower of fortune in abundance. The Ganesha Purana describes the 32 forms of Lord Ganesha and among them, Mahaganapathi is widely worshiped. The first 16 forms of Ganesha are known by the name “Shodasa Ganapati” and the later ones are known as “Ekavimsathi”. Each form having special powers and characteristic features. Two shaktis of Ganesha, Siddhi and Riddhi, are often depicted on images of the mighty God’s forms.
Bala Ganapati is “the Childlike” God of golden colour.
Features: The idol of Bala Ganapathi is elephant faced and has four hands holding the fruits of the Earth – Mango, Jackfruit, Banana and Sugarcane in his four hands. His trunk garners His favourite sweet; the modaka.
Significance: He is believed to save the devotees from sin.
2. Taruna Ganapati
It is the youthful form of Ganesha.
Features: He is featured as bearing a goad and noose, modaka, green paddy, a sugarcane stalk, rose apple and wood apple in His eight hands, which symbolize fertility. His brilliant red color reflects the blossoming of youth.
Significance: He blesses his devotee with young and beautiful looks.
3. Bhakti Ganapati
Bhakti Ganpatti is the devotee form of Lord Ganesha.
Features: He is described to have four arms holding coconut, Mango, Banana and a bowl of sweet payasa pudding. He shines like the full moon during the harvest season and is garlanded with flowers.
4. Vira Ganapati
It is the Valiant form of Lord Ganesha and has 16-arms.
Features: Lord Ganesh is depicted in the standing posture and strong with an authentic armoury of weapons, which include goad, banner, bow and arrow, goblin, discus, sword, shield, large hammer, spear, sword, axe, trident, noose, mace and chakra.
Significance: Vira Ganapati vanquishes both ignorance and evil.
5. Shakti Ganapati
It is the powerful form of Lord Ganesha and is a Tantric worship form.
Features: Four-armed and seated with one of His shaktis on His knee, Shakti Ganapati. He holds a garland, noose and goad, and bestows blessings with the abhaya mudra.
Significance: “The Powerful,” of orange-red hue, guards the householder.
6. Dvija Ganapati
Four-headed Dvija Ganapati is moon like in color. The word “Dvija” means born twice. It reminds us the story of Lord Shiva beheading Ganesha and resurrecting Him with an elephant’s head. As per Upanayana, Dvija Ganapati is considered equivalent to Lord Brahma.
Features: He is represented with four heads and four hands holding palm-leaf inscription, a staff, meditation beads, water pot, noose and goad.
7. Siddhi Ganapati
Golden-yellow Siddhi Ganapati, “the Accomplished,” is the epitome of achievement and self-mastery.
Features: He bears in his four hands, a posy of flowers, a mango, a stalk of sugarcane plant with leaves and roots and the battle axe. His trunk curves around a sweet sesame ball.
8. Ucchhishta Ganapati
Ucchhishta Ganapati is “Lord of Blessed Offerings” and guardian of culture.
Features: He is of blue complexion and is six armed. He sits with his shakti, holding a vina, pomegranate, blue lotus flower, japa mala and a sprig of fresh paddy.
9. Vighna Ganapati
Vighna Ganapati, “Lord of Obstacles”.
Features: He is of brilliant gold hue and bedecked in jewels. He has eight arms and His weapons are the noose, goad, axe, conch and discus, sharp tusk and the rest of the arms hold flower-tipped arrow, sugarcane and a modak.
Significance: Removes all the obstacles from the life of His devotees.
10. Kshipra Ganapati
Handsome, red-hued Kshipra Ganapati, who is easy to appease and gives quick reward to the devotees.
Features: He is depicted to have a broken tusk and four hands holding a noose, goad and a sprig of the kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling) tree. In His uplifted trunk He holds a tiny pot of precious jewels which is considered as a symbol of the prosperity he can bestow upon followers.
11. Heramba Ganapati
Heramba Ganapatti is white in color and rides a big lion.
Features: He is the Mother’s beloved son and a rare form in which the Lord appears with five heads and ten hands. The Abhya Mudra depicted in his right hand bestows blessing and the main left hand grants wishes. On the other hands holds a noose, japa beads mala (Rudrashaka), a battle axe, a battle hammer, his broken tusk as a weapon, garland, a fruit and his favourite sweet Modaka.
Significance: Protector of the weak.
12. Lakshmi Ganapati
Lakshmi Ganapatti is the pure white.
Features: He is depicted to have the Goddess Siddhi (Achievement) and Goddess Budhi (Wisdom) on both thighs. He has 8 hands, gesturing varada mudra, Abhya Mudra and other hands holds green Parrot, a Pomegranate, a sword, a noose, elephant goad, sprig of Kalpavriksha (Wish fulfilling tree) and water vessel. Both his consorts hold white lotus flowers.
Significance: Bestower of success.
13. Maha Ganapati
Maha Ganapatti is red-complexioned, seated majestically with one of his shaktis on his knee.
Features: He is depicted with three eyes and a crescent moon on his head. He has 10 arms holding tusk, a pomegranate, a sugarcane bow, chakra, noose, a blue lily, a sprig of paddy, a lotus, a mace and ratnakumbha.
14. Vijaya Ganapati
Features: Four-armed, of red hue and riding His resourceful mushika, Vijaya Ganapati His insignia are the broken tusk, elephant goad, a noose and a lucious golden mango, His favourite fruit.
Significance: “The Victorious” bestower of success.
15. Nritya Ganapati
The happy “Dancer,” Nritya Ganapati, is four-armed and golden, with rings on His fingers, holding a tusk, goad, noose and modaka sweet. He prances under the kalpavriksha tree, epitomizing exuberant activity and joy.
Significance: It is believed that worshiping Nritya Ganapati will bring proficiency and success for the devotees in fine arts.
16. Urdhva Ganapati
Urdhva Ganapatti is the lord of golden hue and is seated with one of his shaktis on his left knee.
Features: In his six hands he holds a sprig of paddy, a lotus, the sugar cane bow, an arrow, His ivory tusk and a blue water lily.
17. Ekakshara Ganapati
In this form Ganapati identified with Single Syllable, third eye and is of red complexion and attire. The single syllable comes from the seed letter “Gam”, which is a pronominal sound of “OM”.
Features: He has a Crescent moon on his crown. He sits on yogic lotus posture on his vehicle Mooshika. With one hand he grants boons and the others hold pomegranate, elephant goad and noose.
18. Varada Ganapati
Varada Ganapati, “the Boon-Giver with prominent third eye of wisdom, holds a dish of honey, the noose and goad and encloses a pot of jewels in His trunk. His shakti is at His side, and the crescent moon adorns His crown.
19. Tryakshara Ganapati
The lord of three words (A-U-M) Tryakshara Ganapatti is gold in color and has fly whisks in his big floppy ears.
He carries the broken tusk, goad, noose and mango and is seen grasping sweet modaka in his trunk.
20. Kshipra Prasada Ganapati
Kshipra Prasada Ganapatti is also known as the quick rewarder.
Fetaures: He sits on a Kusha grass throne and his big belly symbolizes the universe. His hands hold broken tusk, the twig of Kalpavriksha, noose, an elephant goad, pomegranate and a white lotus.
21. Haridra Ganapati
Haridra Ganapati, the golden one dressed in bright yellow vestments, sits calmly on a posh, regal throne.
Along with His tusk and a modaka, He wields a noose to hold devotees close and a sharp goad to spur them onward.
22. Ekadanta Ganapati
As the name suggest “single tusked” Ganapati. This form is special as He is in blue color and having a large belly than in any other form which signifies that all the manifestation of the universe is within him.
His hands hold broken tusk, Ladu, japa beads mala, and an axe to cut the bond of ignorance.
23. Sristhi Ganapati
Ganapati in this form is the creator or as the Lord of happy manifestations.
Features: This active God of red complexion has four hands bearing broken tusk, mango fruit, elephant goad, and noose. He is seated in his favorite Mooshika Vahana. It is believed that He will help his devotees to attain the power of discrimination.
24. Uddanda Ganapati
Uddanda Ganapati is the bold “Enforcer of Dharma,” the laws of being.
Features: His ten hands hold a pot of gems, a blue lily, sugar cane, a mace, lotus flower, sprig of paddy, a pomegranate, noose, garland and His broken tusk. He has his consort Sakthi with him.
25. Rinamochana Ganapati
Rinamochana Ganapati is humanity’s liberator from guilt and bondage.
Feature: His figure of alabaster skin is apparelled in red silks. He bears a noose and a goad, His milk-white tusk and a favourite fruit, the rose apple.
26. Dhundhi Ganapati
Red-hued Dhundhi Ganapati holds a strand of rudraksha beads, his broken tusk, an axe and a small pot of precious gems.
He is known as the sought after Ganapati as he helps his devotees to attain moksha through spiritual studies.
27. Dvimukha Ganapati
Dvimukha Ganapati, called Janus by the Romans, with two divergent faces, sees in all directions.
His blue-green form is dressed in red silk. He wears a bejewelled crown and holds a noose, goad, His tusk and a pot of gems.
28. Trimukha Ganapati
Trimukha Ganapati, the contemplative “three-faced” Lord of red hue, sits on a golden lotus, telling His beads, holding a noose, goad and vessel of nectar. He gestures protection with a right hand and blessings with a left.
29. Sinha Ganapati
Sinha Ganapati, white in color, rides a lion and displays another lion in one hand, symbolizing strength and fearlessness. He also holds a kalpavriksha sprig, the vina, a lotus blossom, flower bouquet and a pot of jewels.
30. Yoga Ganapati
This Yoga Ganapati is absorbed in mantra japa. His knees are strapped in meditative pose, hands holding a yoga staff, sugar cane stalk, a noose and prayer beads. The colour of his skin is like the morning sun and blue garments adorn his form.
31. Durga Ganapati
Durga Ganapati, the “Invincible,” waves the flag of victory over darkness. This splendid murti is of deep gold hue, dressed in red, holding a bow and arrow, noose and goad, prayer beads, broken tusk and a rose apple.
32. Sankatahara Ganapati
Sankatahara Ganapati, “the Dispeller of Sorrow,” is of sunlike hue, dressed in blue, and seated on a red lotus flower. He holds a bowl of pudding, a goad and a noose while gesturing the boon-granting varada mudra.