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Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Travel pictures from नेपाल (Nepal)

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn


The following is mostly from Wikipedia:

The Hindu religion is Hinduism is the predominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, and one of its indigenous religions. Hinduism includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Śrauta among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a conglomeration of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid common set of beliefs.

Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India and, as such, Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the "oldest living major religion" in the world.

One orthodox classification of Hindu texts is to divide into Śruti ("revealed") and Smriti ("remembered") texts. These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, rituals and temple building among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Bhagavad Gītā and Āgamas.

Hinduism, with about one billion followers, is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

Hinduism refers to a religious mainstream which evolved organically and spread over a large territory marked by significant ethnic and cultural diversity. This mainstream evolved both by innovation from within, and by assimilation of external traditions or cults into the Hindu fold. The result is an enormous variety of religious traditions, ranging from innumerable small, unsophisticated cults to major religious movements with millions of adherents spread over the entire subcontinent. The identification of Hinduism as an independent religion separate from Buddhism or Jainism consequently hinges on the affirmation of its adherents that it is such.

Hinduism grants absolute and complete freedom of belief and worship. Hinduism conceives the whole world as a single family that deifies the one truth, and therefore it accepts all forms of beliefs and dismisses labels of distinct religions which would imply a division of identity. Hence, Hinduism is devoid of the concepts of apostasy, heresy and blasphemy.

Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include (but are not restricted to), Dharma (ethics/duties), Samsāra (the continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth), Karma (action and subsequent reaction), Moksha (liberation from samsara), and the various Yogas (paths or practices).

There are many Gods in Hinduism, some are common to all areas, some are more local deities.

Hindu worship is not congregational, but is done individually. You can frequently see a person standing at a small shrine of in front of a temple and pray. Worship is also often done at home with small statues of various Gods or Goddesses.

Hindu Legend of Creation

This is just one of many versions, they differ greatly in different areas.

In the beginning Vishnu alone was there. When Vishnu thought about creation, Brahma was created from a lotus that came from the navel of Vishnu, who was resting on the cosmic serpent, Ananta (Shesha).

After meditation Brahma created 14 planetary systems and many living beings came there in 8400000 kinds of material bodies according to their past desires. Brahma received Vedas from Om, and he is transmitting knowledge from Om Himself to Earth.

Hindu Temples

There are LOTS of Hindu temples in Nepal. They reach from very large and elaborate ones like the Chandeshwari Temple, to small shrines on the roadside. This was even more apparent in Nepal than in India. The temples are usually dedicated to one, sometimes to several, of the Hindu deities. From what I saw, Shiva had the most temples dedicated to him, while Ganesha had the most small shrines dedicated. Temples are almost always decorated lavishly. The red paint is used everywhere, on statues and pictures, in all the temples and shrines.

One aspect of temple decorations that is unexpected for Westerners are the erotic statues on some of the temples. They show very explicit acts in all variations. I saw some of those in India as well.

Pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Following is a listing of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses for which I have pictures. Some of the pictures are from bronze statues that I got in India, and some from ceramic tiles that I got in Nepal. The pictures of statues, shrines, and temples are from my trips to India in February 1999, to Việt Nam and Cambodia in 2003, to Nepal in October 2012, and to Bangladesh in January 2019.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Brahma - The Creator

Brahma Statue_2
Bronze statue of Brahma with the four heads. (514k)
Hindu Gods
Statues of the Trimurti (Divine Trinity) in Varanasi, with Shiva on the left, Brahma in the center, and Vishnu on the right. (838k)
Picture Trimurti Divine
Picture of the Trimurti, the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (left), Vishnu (center), and Shiva (right), each standing on a Lotus, on the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (713k)
Statue Shiva Temple
Statue 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. (868k)
Brahma Statue
Brahma Statue from the Chăm Kingdom in the Chăm museum in Đà Nẵng. (332k)

Vishnu - The Protector

Lord Krishna Consort
Lord Krishna, and his consort Radha, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (904k)
Lord Vishnu Lakshmi
Lord Vishnu, and Lakshmi, his consort, seated on the Shesha, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (670k)
Picture Trimurti Divine
Picture of the Trimurti, the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (center), Vishnu (left), and Shiva (right) on the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (713k)
Lord Vishnu Protector
Lord Vishnu, the Protector. (890k)
Lord Krishna Playing
Lord Krishna, playing the flute, on a temple in Patan. (816k)
Lord Krishna Playing
Lord Krishna, playing the flute and herding cows, on a temple in Patan. (727k)
Statue Lord Vishnu
Statue of Lord Vishnu, holding a Padma (lotus flower), a Gada (mace), a Shanka (conch shell) and Chakra (a spinning disk weapon), at the Kumbheshwor Temple in Patan. (802k)
Garudanarayan Stature Lord
Garudanarayan, a stature of Lord Vishnu (with the Gada, the Mace, and the Chakra, the spinning disk) and Garuda, his vehicle, in a temple in Patan. (955k)
Vishnu Statue
Bronze Vishnu statue. (497k)
Paint Vishnu_1
Painting in Orchha in India, of Vishnu resting on Shesha, the king of all nagas, with his consort Lakshmi at his feet. (872k)
Paint Vishnu_2
Painting in Orchha in India, with Varaha, an Incarnations of Vishnu as a boar (right in blue). (1138k)
Hindu Gods
Statues of the Trimurti (Divine Trinity) in Varanasi, with Shiva on the left, Brahma in the center, and Vishnu on the right. (838k)
Statue Shiva Temple
Statue 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. (868k)
Narasimha Lion-headed God
Narasimha (Lion-headed God, an incarnation of Vishnu) in front of the 55 Window Palace. It dates from 1698. (935k)
Lord Narasimha Half-man
Lord Narasimha (half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu), devouring the demon Hiranyakashipu, dating from 1673, in the palace in Kathmandu Durbar Square. (933k)
02990
God Vishnu on the temple roof of the Dimla Kali Temple in Rangpur, Bangladesh. Vishnu is sitting on his vehicle, the Garuda. (763k)
03122
Terracotta figure of Matsya, the first incarnation of Vishnu with a fish tail, on the Kantajew Temple in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. (1211k)
03123
Terracotta figure of Kurma, the second incarnation of Vishnu with a tortoise body, on the Kantajew Temple in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. (1123k)

Vishnu's Symbols (Garuda, Padma (lotus flower), Gada (mace), Shanka (conch shell) and Chakra (spinning disk weapon))

Vishnu's vehicle is Garuda, a combination of man and eagle. He is often depicted as riding on his shoulders. In front of most Vishnu temples is a statue of Garuda, usually a human figure with eagle wings.

Two Garudas Front
Two Garudas in front of the Vishnu temple in Dhulikhel. The lower one is the traditional Garuda, the upper one is one in Indonesian tradition. (833k)
Garuda Vehicle Vishnu
The Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, in front of a Vishnu temple in Patan. You can see from the fresh decorations that it is actively worshiped. (1041k)
Garuda Front Vishnu
Garuda in front of the Vishnu temple Trailokya Mohan in Kathmandu Durbar Square. (860k)
Shanka Conch Shell
The Shanka (Conch Shell) at the Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (771k)
Chakra Spinning Disk
The Chakra (spinning disk) is on the left, together with the Damaru, the drum, one of Shiva's symbols. On the right is the Shanka, the conch shell, next to Shiva's trident. (868k)
Close-up Disk Vishnu
Close-up of the disk of Vishnu at the Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (750k)
Vishnu Shanka Conch
Vishnu with the Shanka (Conch Shell, lower left), Padma (lotus flower, upper left), the Chakra (spinning disk weapon, upper right), and the Gada (mace, lower right). (802k)
Narasimha Fourth Incarnation
Narasimha, fourth incarnation of Vishnu with a lion's head, holding the Chakra (spinning disk weapon, upper left), and the Gada (mace, upper right). (935k)

Shiva - The Destroyer

Painting Shiva Shiva
Painting of Shiva in the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (771k)
Picture Trimurti Divine
Picture of the Trimurti, the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (center), Vishnu (left), and Shiva (right) on the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (713k)
Lord Shiva Destroyer
Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. (862k)
Lord Shiva Destroyer
Lord Shiva, the Destroyer on a small shrine in Patan. (782k)
Picture Shiva De
Picture of Shiva de Destroyer on a house in Panauti. (814k)
Colorful Shiva Statue
Colorful Shiva statue and fountain next to the Jagannarayan Temple in Patan Durbar Square. (875k)
Shiva Statue
Bronze statue of Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. (608k)
Statue Shiva Temple
Statue 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. (868k)
Hindu Gods
Statues of the Trimurti (Divine Trinity) in Varanasi, with Shiva on the left, Brahma in the center, and Vishnu on the right. (838k)
Stone Shiva
Stone figure of Hindu God Shiva on a temple in Khajuraho, India. (1076k)
Kailashnath Mahadev World's
Kailashnath Mahadev, the world's tallest Shiva statue (44 m (144 ft)) in Sanga, near Bhaktapur. (694k)
Statue Kala Bhairab
Statue of Kala Bhairab (one of the incarnations of Shiva, the Destroyer) at the Lion Gate in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (956k)
Relief Kala Bhairab
Relief 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. (826k)
Ardhanarishvara Statue
Bronze statue of Ardhanarishvara, half Shiva, half Parvati. (502k)
00080
Shiva statue in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (624k)
00065
Shiva statue in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (986k)

Shiva Lingam and Yoni

One symbol of Shiva that is found in essentially every temple of Shiva is the Lingam, usually placed on the Yoni, symbolizing a combination of the male and female sex organs.

Shiva Lingam Foreground
Shiva Lingam in the foreground and Nandi, the bull, the carrier of Shiva behind it. This is in Pokhara at Davis Falls. (1084k)
Shiva Lingam Next
A Shiva Lingam next to the Indreshwor Mahadev temple in Panauti. (804k)
Shiva Lingam Shiva
Shiva Lingam in the Shiva temple in Dhulikhel. (794k)
Large Shiva Lingam
Large Shiva Lingam in Panauti. (789k)
Shiva Lingam Bangalamukhi
A Shiva Lingam near the Bangalamukhi Temple in Patan. (682k)
Very Elaborate Shiva
Very elaborate Shiva Lingam in the temple on the way to Nagarkot. (774k)
Elaborately Decorated Shiva
Elaborately decorated Shiva Lingam near the Shiva temple on the way to Nagarkot. (1287k)
Shiva Lingam
Shiva Lingam Statue from the Chăm Kingdom in the Chăm museum in Đà Nẵng in Việt Nam. (373k)
Shiva Linga
Shiva Lingams in a stream in Cambodia. (387k)
0810
Shiva Lingam in a temple in Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. (806k)
00070
Shiva Lingam in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (641k)
00076
Shiva Lingam in the Dhakeshwari National Temple with a small statue of Nandi, the bull, the vehicle of Shiva. (495k)
02529
Shiva Lingam in the Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple, made of black basalt. It is the largest in Bangladesh. (750k)

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

Nandi Shiva's Vehicle
Nandi, Shiva's vehicle, the bull, in front of the Shiva temple near Nagarkot. (718k)
Statue Nandi Bull
Statue of Nandi, the bull, vehicle of Shiva in Patan. It is protected in a cage. Apparently, art theft is a big problem in Nepal. (1010k)
Nandi Bull Vehicle
Nandi, the bull, the vehicle of Shiva in front of a Shiva temple in Patan. (776k)
Nandi Bull Shiva's
Nandi, the bull, Shiva's mount, in front of the Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (828k)
Roof Decoration Yaksheshvara
Roof decoration on the Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, showing Shiva's Trishula, the trident. (495k)
Shiva's Trishula Trident
Shiva's Trishula, the Trident at the Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (612k)
Statue Nagarkot Showing
A 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). (868k)
Painting Shiva Showing
Painting 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. (814k)
Shiva Statue Showing
Shiva statue showing the Trishula (trident) and the Damaru (drum), the cobras around the neck, and the Candraśekhara, the crescent moon on his head. (694k)

Saraswati - Goddess of Knowledge, Music, and Art

Goddess Saraswati Goddess
Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, with the Sitar and a book, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (713k)
Goddess Saraswati Goddess
Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, with the Sitar and a book, on a temple in Patan. (818k)
Goddess Saraswati
Goddess Saraswati. (909k)
00052
Saraswati in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (990k)
03015
Saraswati on the temple roof of the Dimla Kali Temple in Rangpur, Bangladesh. Saraswati is sitting on her vehicle, the peacock. (613k)

Parvati - Goddess of Fertility

Painted Tile Picture
Painted tile with picture of Parvati in Dhulikhel. (822k)
Painting Parvati
Painting of Parvati. (903k)
Statue Parvati Dhulikhel
Statue of Parvati in Dhulikhel. (787k)
Ardhanarishvara Statue
Bronze statue of Ardhanarishvara, half Shiva, half Parvati. (502k)

Symbols of Parvati

Tiger Carrier Parvati
The tiger is the carrier of Parvati, at the Chandeshwari temple. (603k)
Statue Tiger Vehicle
A statue of a tiger, the vehicle of Parvati, at the Bangalamukhi Temple in Patan. (715k)

Durga - The Demon Slayer

Stone Carved Figure
Stone carved figure of Durga, slayer of the Buffalo Demon, at the Lion Gate in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (950k)
Stone Figure Durga
Stone figure of Durga, the Buffalo Demon slayer on the Vatsala Devi Temple in Bhaktapur. (733k)
Statue Durga Slaying
Statue of Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon in Dhulikhel. (787k)
Carving Durga Slaying
Carving of Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon in a Shiva temple near Nagarkot. (1032k)
00072
Durga in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (1012k)
00049
Durga in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (918k)

Lakshmi - Goddess of Prosperity

Goddess Lakshmi Consort
Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, on a temple in Patan. (863k)
Lakshmi Consort Krishna
Lakshmi with her consort Krishna, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, seated on the Shesha, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (670k)
Lakshmi Goddess Wealth
Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, raining golden coins, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (712k)
Paint Vishnu_1
Painting in Orchha in India, of Vishnu resting on Shesha, the king of all nagas, with his consort Lakshmi at his feet. (872k)
00051
Lakshmi in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (961k)

Symbols of Lakshmi

Peacock Symbol Lakshmi
The peacock is the symbol of Lakshmi, at the Swayambhunath Stupa. (605k)

Kali - Goddess of Empowerment

Close-up Lu Dhowka
Close-up of the Lu Dhowka (Golden Gate) in the palace in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, with the Goddess Kali in the center, flanked by two nymphs. (1046k)
Goddess Kali House
Goddess Kali on a house in Dhulikhel. (783k)
Goddess Kali
Goddess Kali. (867k)
Kali Statue
Bronze statue of Kali. (511k)
Khajuraho Kali
Stone figure of Hindu Goddess Kali on a temple in Khajuraho, India. (1010k)
02997
Painting of the Godess Kali, with the necklace of human skulls and the skirt of human arms, sticking out her tongue, standing on the God Shiva. (662k)
03013
Statue of the Godess Kali, with the necklace of human skulls and the skirt of human arms, sticking out her tongue, standing on the God Shiva. (578k)

Ganesha - Remover of Obstacles

God Ganesha God
God Ganesha, the God of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles, on a temple in Dhulikhel. (731k)
God Ganesha God
God Ganesha, the God of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles in Patan. (817k)
Small Ganesha Shrine
A small Ganesha shrine in Patan, decorated with flowers and red paint. (1010k)
Wood Carved Ganesha
Wood carved Ganesha on one of the wooden support column in the Royal Palace in Patan. (812k)
Statue Elephant God
Statue of the Elephant God Ganesha in Panauti. (988k)
Ganesha Shrine Kathmandu
Ganesha Shrine in Kathmandu Durbar Square. (954k)
Ganesha Statues Kasthamandap
One of the Ganesha statues in the Kasthamandap temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square. (743k)
Ganesha Newer House
Ganesha on a newer house in Bhaktapur. (748k)
Shrine Dedicated Ganesha
Shrine dedicated to Ganesha in Bhaktapur. (860k)
Shrine Dedicated Ganesha
Shrine dedicated to Ganesha in Patan. (968k)
Ganesha
Ganesha. (964k)
Small Sculpture Ganesha
Small sculpture of Ganesha. People have these sculptures in their houses on the mantle. (437k)
Ganesha Statue
Bronze statue of Ganesha. (526k)
Paint Ganesh
Painting in Orchha of the Hindu God Ganesha. (854k)
Amber Door
Entrance to the Amber Palace in Jaipur, India. Image of the Hindu God Ganesha above the door. (1011k)
Stone Ganesh
Stone figure of Hindu God Ganesha on a temple in Khajuraho, India. (1258k)
Ganesh Statue
Ganesha Statue from the Chăm Kingdom in the Chăm museum in Đà Nẵng. (367k)
00050
Ganesha in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (849k)
Stylized Ganesha Cars
This stylized Ganesha was on many cars as a protector. (529k)

Hanuman - Devotee of Rama

Picture Hanuman Protector
Picture of Hanuman the Protector on a house in Panauti. (967k)
Shrine Monkey God
Shrine of the Monkey God Hanuman, the Protector of the king, in Panauti. (826k)
Monkey God Hanuman
Monkey God Hanuman, covered with red paint, on the Chandeshwari Temple. (867k)
Closer View Hanuman
Closer view of Hanuman in the Hindu shrine in Dhulikhel. The red color is used to decorate Hindu temples and shrines. After worship, people touch their forehead with the red paint. (1019k)
Hanuman Dhoka Portal
Hanuman Dhoka Portal in Kathmandu Durbar Square, the entrance to the palace with a Hanuman statue, clothed, with garlands under an umbrella. The gate dates to 1672. (791k)
Hanuman Statue
Bronze statue of the Monkey God Hanuman. (494k)
Paint Hanuman
Painting of the Monkey God Hanuman in Orchha, India. (888k)
Hanuman Temple_1
Not all temples have to be big. This is a temple for the Monkey God Hanuman in India. (790k)
Hanuman Temple_2
Monkey on the statue of the Monkey God Hanuman in India. (734k)
00080
Relief of the Monkey God Hanuman in the Dhakeshwari National Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (624k)

Kartikeya - God of War and Victory

00048
Statues in the Dhakeshwari National Temple, with Kartik on far right. (910k)
00053
Statue of Kartik with his vehicle, the peacock behind him, holding his weapon, the bow. (926k)
00064
Relief of Kartik, son of Durga in the Dhakeshwari National Temple. (730k)

Varahi - Sow-headed Goddess

03007
Statue of the Goddess Varahi on the Dimla Kali Temple in Rangpur, Bangladesh. (762k)
03017
Statue of the Goddess Varahi on the Dimla Kali Temple in Rangpur, Bangladesh. (639k)

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Page last updated on Sun May 26 17:45:06 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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