Ganeshji is a must for Diwali pooja as he is to be worshiped in all pujas before any other god or goddess. Traditionally on Diwali night, Ganesh shares the altar with Lakshmi. Shree Ganesh is the god of good beginnings and the fabled remover of obstacles. In the Hindu pantheon, the two are unrelated, Ganesh being the son of Shiva and Parvati. However, when placed side by side, Lakshmi Ganesh hold out promise of a year of fulfillment, free from wants.
During the Ganesh puja, the idol of goddess Lakshmi is placed on the left and Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god is kept on the right. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity and also personifies beauty, grace, and charm. She is normally depicted seated on a lotus with gold coins. Lord Ganesh has many functions in the Hindu pantheon. He is the Lord of Wisdom and the remover of obstacles.
Hindus believe that he must be kept happy to ensure smooth passage on the road to accomplishments. For this reason, he is worshiped together with Lakshmi during Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Then, Lakshmi is worshiped for wealth and prosperity, while Ganesh is worshiped first to ensure that any obstacles to obtaining wealth and prosperity are removed.
Shri Laxmi-Ganesh Puja takes place on Diwali by placing their idol on a platform, making various offerings of sandal paste, saffron paste, perfume(itr), haldi, kumkum, abeer, gulal, garland of cotton beads, flowers, especially the marigold flowers and leaves of Bel (wood apple tree). Incense stick and dhoop is lit and offering of sweets, coconut, fruits, and tambul are made. At the end of pooja, aarti dedicated to Lord Ganesh is sung by the devotees.
Click here to see a Ganesh Puja being performed with all shlokas and steps clearly displayed.