Few people in India know that innumerable Ganesha temples exist from the medieval era in far flung countries like South and Central America, Mexico, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan and Iran. Huge modern edifices stand in Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and the United States. The popularity of Ganesha has surpassed that of Buddha as an international icon!
Ganesha, with his primeval Omkar form, is considered to be Swayambhu. The one who just ‘is’. The one who creates himself and pervades everything, everywhere ; so believe millions of his devotees. Indeed he can be found everywhere. A rough, gnarled tree trunk suddenly shows up an elephant-head like formation and people gather to admire the appearance of Ganesha. Rudrakshas, precious stones and beads, roadside rocks and many objects are often miraculously found to have the curled trunk formed naturally on them and all Ganesha worshippers look at these objects with devotion and cherish them. Many Ganesha temples in India, especially the Ashtavinayaka series in Maharashtra, stand in caves or caverns, on mountains and riverbanks. They are reputed to have idols that have formed themselves naturally out of the rock and are not carved by human hands.
A large number of idols, formed by Nature or Swayambhu, are found in the Kashmir valley. Three among these are famous pilgrimage centers. The first is near the Lidar River in Ganeshbal; the second is at the foot of the Hariparbat Hill near Srinagar and is called Bhimasvamin; the third and the most remarkable, is on a cliff along the Kishenganga River and is called Ganeshghati. Such is the popularity of this pot-bellied, auspicious icon that generations of human beings from all over the world are fascinated by his lustrous personality, auspicious generosity and many-splendoured form! 🍃🌾🌿🐘🌿🌾🍃