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Devotees bid farewell to Ganesh at festival climax

Thousands of devotees gathered in Mumbai on Thursday to bid farewell to the popular elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, after a ten-day festival to celebrate his birth.

Devotees carried flower-decorated idols of all sizes around the city's streets and then gathered on the city's beach for the final 'immersion in the sea' ritual.

The act of carrying the idols into the sea symbolises Ganesh being sent back to his mythical home in the snow-capped mountains, taking the devotees' problems and concerns with him.

During the annual festival, Hindu families worship Ganesh, the god of knowledge, wisdom and good fortune, at their homes and collectively in street corners.

All Hindu prayers begin with an invocation to Ganesh.

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