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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
India fetes elephant god
Ganesh idol and procession
Ganesh procession approaches the sea at Madras
A colourful 10-day festival to celebrate the birthday of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh has come to a close in India.

In the southern port city of Madras, it ended with hundreds of idols of Lord Ganesh being lowered into the sea.

The festival was marked all over India with politicians publicly offering up prayers to the god who is believed to "bring success" and "remove obstacles".

Lord Ganesh enters the sea
A crane was used for a particularly elephantine idol
But in the state of Assam the celebrations were marred on the first day by tragedy.

Two elephants were being herded across a bridge over the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati, the state capital, in the early hours of the morning when a speeding bus ran into them.

The driver of the bus, which had come from the state of Nagaland, was killed along with the two animals.

Reports from the scene said that the elephants' two Mahouts, or trainers, were thrown into the river.

See also:

13 Sep 00 | South Asia
In pictures: Festival time in India
20 Mar 00 | South Asia
In pictures: India's colourful festival
13 Apr 00 | South Asia
India holidays 'too long'
08 Apr 99 | South Asia
Sikh celebrations begin
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