Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of wisdom, is probably the most worshipped Hindu deity in the country today. He is usually worshipped at the beginning of every religious ritual or puja by devout Hindus.
The elephant is associated with Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth and prosperity. One of Her eight manifestations (A shtalakshmi ) is known as Gajalakshmi . One of the navarathnas was a white elephant named Airavatha , which later became the mount of Lord Indra.
Elephants are also sacred to the Buddhists. One of the beliefs of Buddhism is reincarnation. It is believed that Lord Buddha reincarnated as Chaddanta, the legendary white elephant with six tusks. The elephant represents the strength of the mind in Buddhism.