Our family loves Indian food and especially the decorations each restaurant puts up inside. Some of them could be quite elaborate. We ventured to try out this one place Dhak Shin Restaurant. The food tasted wonderful but the service was very slow and they forgot to bring the soup. It's as if they had a menu but the cook had to cook from scratch and each dish took a long time to make. lol Maybe it's a new place and they need to get the hang of it, so I will not discredit them yet.
They had these little plastic elephants all over the place and I couldn't figure out what they represented. I know at each Hindu festival they decorate the elephant in all colors and they have them in their temples as a gods.I learned that their role is crucial. In India, animals are impetuses for growth, conduits of unity and love, and symbols of Indian culture. They include hyenas, wasps, elephants, which creates an immense diversity of India itself.
The elephant god is known as Ganesha. He has a human body and an elephants head. As a Supreme Being, he removes obstacles and ensures success in human endeavors, And realizes reality which makes him lord of all beings. He is the first son of lord Shiva and Shiva represents Supreme Reality.
In Mythology they have a number of stories as to how an elephants' head got onto a human body. Lord Shiva used to come into Parvatis' chambers anytime he wished. She did not like it even if she was his consort. Thus Ganesha was born from the scurf (Scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff.) of her body and water from the Ganges. So Ganesha had two Moms, Parvati and Ganga.
Ganesha was ordered to keep everyone out when Parvati was bathing. When lord Shiva came and was refused entry he beheaded Ganesha. Parvati became so upset she asked Goddess Durga and Godess Kali to destroy everything and everyone and demanded Ganesha be brought back to life. LOrd Shiva promised he would but could not find the boys head so he asked his hordes to find a head of the first living being who was sleeping with his head facing north which is associated with wisdom. Aravatm Indras' Elephant was sleeping facing north, so they beheaded him and brought the head to the boys body and Lord Brahma brought him back to life. Parvati asked that he should be invincible, the giver of victory and God of wisdom. The person who worships him should gain success and property. She also wanted that no one be permitted into heaven, before pleasing him and compulsory to first invoke him before any other deity. These were all granted to Lord Ganesha, by the triumvirate of Gods, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva before she ceased her rage.
In A Passage to India, elephants are a symbol of India itself. Mrs. Moore, an English traveler in India, and her young companion Adela Quested, see elephants so often in India that they think they are cliché and not representative of the "real" India. The characters visit a local sightseeing spot, the Marabar Caves, and enjoy an elephant ride that proves to be a majestic, spiritual experience. Forster writes, "As the elephant moved towards the hills, a new quality occurred, a spiritual silence which invaded more senses than the ear" (Forster 155).
Elephants were also used by Kings in war and kept for magic. They are a powerful symbol in the Maithil culture . Women paint pregnant elephants for good luck and fertility in marriage
Animals are very sacred in India and as intelligent people, we can understand why. Balance would be destroyed without them.