Worshippers are gathering to pray to a vegetable that looks like a Hindu god. More than 80 people have so far visited a small temple at a catering company in Leicester where an aubergine that resembles Lord Ganesh – the elephant- headed deity – was discovered. Praful Visram, owner of 4 Seasons Catering in Northfields, placed the vegetable in a small temple he has at work for himself and staff to pray in. Mr Visram, 61, of Oadby, said: "One of my staff found the aubergine in a box of 20 or so we got from our wholesalers in Leicester.
"He thought it looked a bit odd, then my wife, Rekha, saw it and recognised the similarity with Ganpati Bappa – Lord Ganesh. "We immediately placed it with reverence in the temple at work. It is a blessing for us to have this." Ganesh is the Hindu god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Mr Visram said he, members of his family and staff have been praying to the vegetable twice a day. He said that the word has spread and other people are turning up at his workplace to pray in the temple and to see the aubergine.
Mr Visram said: "There have been at least 80 people who have come to pray at the temple and to see the aubergine. It is spreading good feeling throughout the community." Hina Chodai, who runs a neighbouring company called Khushi Food, said the resemblance to Lord Ganesh was remarkable. Hina, of Rushey Mead, said: "As soon as I heard about the aubergine I had to see it for myself. It is indeed a blessing for all of us. I am hoping it will bring prosperity to all who pray there. I have prayed there a few times and all of my family have come along to pray, too."
Bacash Laxman, 44, of Belgrave, who works at the catering company, said the resemblance to Lord Ganesh was remarkable. He said: "It is very unusual indeed. there is no doubt that it looks like the God. I pray in the temple at work every day and it gives me a good feeling." Mr Visram said the vegetable was deteriorating and once it got too decomposed to display he would put it in a local river in a ceremony. He said: "That is the way things like this should be treated. It has been a blessing for us and I hope will bring us luck and prosperity. This has been sent to us and we shall treat this with the respect it deserves."