Hindu God Shiva

Travel pictures from Nepal

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn

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The Hindu God Shiva is the Destroyer. He is part of the Trimurti, the Divine Trinity, together with Brahma and Vishnu. He is both malignant and terrific, as well as benign and benevolent.

His consort is Parvati, sister of Vishnu. He has two sons, Ganesha, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles, and Kartikey (or Kumara), the War God.

He is usually depicted with the Trishula, the trident, and the Candraśekhara, the crescent moon on his head. He is usually light in color, sometimes blue. He carries Damaru, a small drum, shaped like an hourglass. He wears five serpents on his neck as ornaments. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity. He has three eyes, the third eye on his forehead between his eyebrows. It is usually closed, except at the time of destruction of things. He usually has long, matted hair, with the Ganges river flowing from his matted hair. He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honor reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger's skin indicates that he has conquered lust. His mount is Nandi, the bull. In front of his temples is usually the statue of a bull.

One popular image of Shiva is Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. The legend of the Nataraja says that Shiva, with Vishnu disguised as a beautiful woman, went to subdue ten thousand holy men in a nearby forest. The holy men became angry and invoked a tiger out of a sacrificial fire. But Shiva flayed the tiger and wore its skin as a cape. Next, the holy men sent a snake, but Shiva tamed it and wore it around his neck. The holy men then sent a dwarf, but Shiva put a foot on him and performed a dance that was so brilliant that the holy men acknowledged Shiva as their master. The Nataraja shows the dancing Shiva with the snake, standing on the dwarf, with his long hair flying around his head. His upper right hand carries the Damaru, the drum. The upper left hand carries the fire, instrument of the final destruction of the universe. The lower right hand bestows protection. The lower left hand points at the left foot, The lifted foot stands for release from illusion.

One symbol of Shiva that is found in essentially every temple of Shiva is the lingam, together with the yoni, a combination of the male and female sex organs.

You can find more information on the Shiva page on Wikipedia.

One incarnation of Shiva is Bhairab. Some temples are dedicated to this incarnation, for instance the Bhairab Nath Temple in Bhaktapur.

Ardhanarishvara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśvara), is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort, the Goddess Parvati. Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes, the left half is Parvati.

You can find more information on the Ardhanarishvara page on Wikipedia.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn

Images of Shiva

painting shiva shivaPainting of Shiva in the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (542k) picture trimurti divinePicture of the Trimurti, the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (center), Vishnu (left), and Shiva (right) on the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (505k) lord shiva destroyerLord Shiva, the Destroyer. (621k) lord shiva destroyerLord Shiva, the Destroyer on a small shrine in Patan. (551k) picture shiva dePicture of Shiva de Destroyer on a house in Panauti. (589k)
colorful shiva statueColorful Shiva statue and fountain next to the Jagannarayan Temple in Patan Durbar Square. (626k) shiva_statueBronze statue of Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. (419k) statue shiva templeStatue at the Shiva temple on the way to Nagarkot. This statue of a Hindu God is quite unusual. He has the four heads of the Hindu God Brahma. He holds Shiva's Trishula (trident) and the Damaru (drum). He also holds Vishnu's Shanka (conch shell) and Chakra (spinning disk), so he represents all three parts of the Trimurti, the Divine Trinity. (618k) hindu_godsStatues of the Trimurti (Divine Trinity) in Varanasi, with Shiva on the left, Brahma in the center, and Vishnu on the right. (679k) stone_shivaStone figure of Hindu God Shiva on a temple in Khajuraho, India. (855k)
kailashnath mahadev worldsKailashnath Mahadev, the world's tallest Shiva statue (44 m (144 ft)) in Sanga, near Bhaktapur. (480k) statue kala bhairabStatue of Kala Bhairab (one of the incarnations of Shiva, the Destroyer) at the Lion Gate in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (684k) relief kala bhairabRelief of Kala Bhairab (one of the incarnations of Shiva, the Destroyer). It was carved in the 6th - 7th century, found in the jungle in the 17th century and established in Kathmandu Durbar Square. (592k) ardhanarishvara_statueBronze statue of Ardhanarishvara, half Shiva, half Parvati. (338k)

Shiva Lingam

shiva lingam foregroundShiva Lingam in the foreground and Nandi, the bull, the carrier of Shiva behind it. This is in Pokhara at Davis Falls. (794k) shiva lingam nextA Shiva Lingam next to the Indreshwor Mahadev temple in Panauti. (584k) shiva lingam shivaShiva Lingam in the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (562k) large shiva lingamLarge Shiva Lingam in Panauti. (560k) shiva lingam bangalamukhiA Shiva Lingam near the Bangalamukhi Temple in Patan. (489k)
very elaborate shivaVery elaborate Shiva Lingam in the temple on the way to Nagarkot. (546k) elaborately decorated shivaElaborately decorated Shiva Lingam near the Shiva temple on the way to Nagarkot. (935k) shiva_lingamShiva Lingam Statue from the Chăm Kingdom in the Chăm museum in Đà Nẵng in Việt Nam. (315k) shiva_lingaShiva Lingams in a stream in Cambodia. (329k) shiva lingam templeShiva Lingam in a temple in Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. (591k)

Shiva's Symbols (Nandi (bull), Trishula (trident), Candraśekhara (crescent moon), Damaru (drum))

nandi shivas vehicleNandi, Shiva's vehicle, the bull, in front of the Shiva temple near Nagarkot. (507k) statue nandi bullStatue of Nandi, the bull, vehicle of Shiva in Patan. It is protected in a cage. Apparently, art theft is a big problem in Nepal. (739k) nandi bull vehicleNandi, the bull, the vehicle of Shiva in front of a Shiva temple in Patan. (563k) nandi bull shivasNandi, the bull, Shiva's mount, in front of the Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (598k) roof decoration yaksheshvaraRoof decoration on the Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, showing Shiva's Trishula, the trident. (341k)
shivas trishula tridentShiva's Trishula, the Trident at the Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (430k) statue nagarkot showingA statue near Nagarkot, showing Shiva's Trishula (trident, on right) and the Damaru (drum, on left). He also holds Vishnu's Shanka (conch shell, on right) and Chakra (spinning disk, on left). (618k) painting shiva showingPainting of Shiva, showing the Trishula (trident) and the Damaru (drum) on the right. He has the cobras around his neck, the third eye on the forehead, and the Candraśekhara, the crescent moon on his head. He has long, matted hair, with the Ganges river flowing from his matted hair. On his raised hand is a lingam. (589k) shiva statue showingShiva statue showing the Trishula (trident) and the Damaru (drum), the cobras around the neck, and the Candraśekhara, the crescent moon on his head. (480k)

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