Ganapatya is a sect of Hinduism that worships Ganesha (also called Ganapati) as the Saguna Brahman. ( “The Absolute with qualities”) Unlike other Hindu deities, Ganapati is not affected by externals factors when he makes an appearance on the Earthly plane. Lord Ganapati is in control of his own Maya or Shakti.
The worship of Ganesha is considered complementary with the worship of other deities. Hindus of all sects begin prayers, important undertakings, and religious ceremonies with an invocation of Ganesha.
Ganapati has been worshipped as part of Saivism since at least the fifth century. The Ganapatya sect began to appear between the sixth and ninth centuries: six sects are mentioned in the life of Adi Shankara by Sri Anandigiri. It reached a high point about the tenth century, and built temples dedicated to Ganesha. During my tenure in India it was compulsory to visit the 8 forms of Ganapati as well as the Columns Hall of a Thousand Pillars or better known as in Ucchi Pillayar Koil which is the largest in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.
The Ganapatya order was more understood and popularized by Sri Morya Gosavi. According to historical texts, he found an idol of Ganapati not made by human hands, and built the Morgaon temple near Pune in the 14th century.
According to another, he experienced visions of Ganapati at the Morgaon shrine, and was entombed alive in 1651, in a Ganesha temple at his birthplace. Following him, the Ganapatya sect became prominent between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries in Maharashtra in western India, centering around Cinchwad. Its center is still among high-caste Hindus in the region of Maharashtra, and it is important in South India. Devotees hold an annual pilgrimage between Cinchwad and Moragaon.
Tilak Identification: Whilst living in India during my confirmation it was obligatory to identify yourself. As a Ganapaya devotee Sect marks include a red circle on the forehead, or the brands of an elephant face and tusk on the shoulders. The tilak mark of the Ganapatyas resembles the English letter U, dissected by a line in the centre, somewhat like the flame of a candle.