We have often seen sculptures of Lord Ganesha with the head of an elephant. Yet, there is a temple in India where the idol of the deity has a human face.

In the realm of Lord Ganesha's revered idols, the ubiquitous image features an elephant head with distinctive features — prominent ears, a trunk, and a singular broken tooth. However, tucked away in Thilatharpanapuri, Tamil Nadu, India, lies a unique temple defying this norm. The Adhi Vinayagar temple, located a few kilometers from Koothanur town, holds worldwide fame for its exceptional representation of Lord Ganesha.

At this hallowed temple, the idol of Lord Ganesha showcases a human face, harking back to what is believed to be Ganpati's original countenance before the iconic elephant head graced his form. Here, the revered deity is venerated as 'Nara Mukha Vinayak,' translating to Vinayak adorned with the head of a man. This unparalleled portrayal adds a distinctive chapter to the rich tapestry of Ganesha worship.

In which state is Lord Ganesha portrayed with a human appearance?

Situated in Tamil Nadu, this ancient temple shelters a 5-foot-tall deity adorned with a Naghabharanam gracefully encircling its waist. With origins dating back to the 7th century, this temple stands as one of the state's oldest and most esteemed sanctuaries.

The idol, meticulously sculpted from granite, portrays a figure wielding an axe, symbolizing the transcendence over obstacles and worldly desires. Clutching a modak, Lord Ganesha's cherished delicacy, the idol embodies the appreciation of life's simple pleasures and the rewards they offer. Carved alongside the deity, a rope signifies hope, believed to be the lifeline through which Vinayak extends aid in overcoming life's tribulations. An intricately designed lotus adorns the idol, representing the journey towards self-realization, encapsulating profound symbolism within its form.

Where is Lord Ganesha’s human head?

According to numerous mythological narratives, the severed human head of Lord Ganesha, following its detachment by Lord Shiva, found its resting place in a cavern within Uttarakhand. Presently named Patal Bhuvaneshwar, this cave holds deep-rooted significance in Hindu mythology.

Tradition holds that Adi Shankaracharya was the revered soul who unearthed this divine cave, thus the deity enshrined within is aptly titled Adi Ganesha. Devotees reverentially believe that within these sacred depths, Lord Shiva, in a specific manifestation, safeguards and watches over the severed head of his beloved son, Ganesha, adding to the mystique and sanctity of Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave.

Source / Image Credit: EPuja , NewBarati, HerZindagi