Hinduism

An elderly Hindu woman smiles as she begs for alms on the banks of the Ganges river on the holy day of "Mahalaya" in Kolkata...An elderly Hindu woman smiles as she begs for alms on the banks of the Ganges river on the holy day of "Mahalaya" in Kolkata October 4, 2013. Hindus offer prayers with holy water after taking a dip in the river to honour the souls of their departed ancestors during Mahalaya, which is also called 'Shraadh' or Pitra Paksha.

Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

An elderly Hindu woman smiles as she begs for alms on the banks of the Ganges river on the holy day of Mahalaya in Calcutta, India. Hindus offer prayers with holy water after taking a dip in the river to honour the souls of their departed ancestors during Mahalaya, which is also called Shraadh or Pitra Paksha.

A man holds the hand of an idol of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, during idol immersion ceremony in the Hussain Sagar lake during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

Krishnendu Halder/Reuters

A man holds the hand of an idol of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, during an immersion ceremony in the Hussain Sagar lake during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad, southern India.

An Indian Hindu devotee carries an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha for immersion inside an environmentally friendly artificial water tank on the fifth day of the ten-day long festival Ganesh Chaturthi, in Mumbai.

Mukherjee Indranil/AFP

A Hindu devotee carries an idol of the god Ganesha for immersion inside an artificial water tank on the fifth day of the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India.

An Indian artisan from West Bengal state gives finishing touch to an idol of Hindu goddess Dashama at a workshop in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, July 30, 2013. The ten day long Dashama festival which begins on August 6 culminates with the immersion of the idol.

Ajit Solanki/AP

An artisan from West Bengal puts finishing touches to a statue of Hindu goddess Dashama at a workshop in Ahmadabad. The 10-day Dashama festival, which begins on August 6, culminates with the immersion of the idol.

Students of Shri Vidya Math, a school for Hindu religious learning, walk to their school, in Varanasi, India, Monday, July 29, 2013. Varanasi, known as the city of temples and learning, is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for Hindus.

Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

Students of Shri Vidya Math, a school for Hindu religious learning, walk to school in Varanasi, India, on Monday. Varanasi, known as the city of temples and learning, is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for Hindus.

An Indian boy, left, painted with a face of Hindu God Shiva and the other with an India flag participate in a walk carrying water from the River Ganges to offer at the Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India, Monday, July 29, 2013. On the first Monday of the Hindu calendar month of Sawan, or rainy season, the community offers the waters of the scared river Ganges at the Vishwanath temple, as an age old annual tradition of thanking the God for bringing rains. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

A boy, left, painted with the face of Hindu god Shiva and the other with an India flag participate in a walk carrying water from the Ganges river to offer at the Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India, on Monday Read more

ndian children watch Yadavs, an Indian pastoral community, carrying water from the River Ganges to offer at the Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India, Monday,July 29, 2013. On the first Monday of the Hindu calendar month of Sawan, or rainy season, the community offers water of the scared river Ganges at the temple, as an age old annual tradition of thanking the God for bringing rains. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

Children watch Yadavs, an Indian pastoral community, carrying water from the Ganges river to offer at the Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India, on Monday. On the first Monday of the Hindu calendar month of Sawan, or rainy season, the community offers water from the sacred river as part of an age-old tradition of thanking the gods for bringing rain. Read more