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A vibrant city celebrates Ganesh's blessings

MUMBAI — Every year, tens of millions of people across India celebrate the power of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god who has been adopted by Hindu's and some of the country's other faiths. The festival is particularly popular in Mumbai, the megalopolis of 20 million that is India's industrial and film capital, where it got started in the 19th century as a protest against colonialism.

The giant plaster-of-paris statue of Ganesh in Khetwadi, one of Mumbai's oldest, densest neighborhoods, is the most famous.

Almost every alley features yet another wildly decorated, ardently worshipped Ganesh. But this one, Khetwadi Cha Ganraj, or the Ganesh of Khetwadi, often wins awards as the most beautiful. That fame drew thousands on Wednesday, the last day before the deity joined about 50,000 other statues across the city in a procession of dancing crowds to the ocean, where the idols were gently lowered into the water.

More than 160,000 Ganesh statues had already been dropped in the city's waterways.