The God Ganesh
This is undoubtedly the most popular deity of India. He is the god of knowledge and of virtue. The Hindus praise him before taking any important action.
Son of Shiva and Parvati (Shakti), he is recognizable by his elephant head and his obese body. He sits on a throne and wears a crown. He holds an ax (parashu) in his hand and he eats small pastries (modouks). It is sometimes represented with a slipknot and an elephant hook. The mount of Ganesh is a rat.
Ganesh was not born with an elephant's head. According to legend, Ganesh was born when his father had gone to fight demons. A few years elapse. One day, her mother asks her to keep the entrance of the house while she is bathing. That's when Shiva comes back. Ganesh, not knowing that he was his father, refused him the right to enter. Shiva, ignorant that he has a son and furious at being challenged by a child, cuts off his head. Parvati, mad with pain, orders Shiva to resurrect her son. He then sends his servants asking them to bring back the head of the first living creature they will encounter. So it was the head of an elephant that they brought back.
Ganesh is also called Ganapati and more rarely Vinayak.