Hindu Deity / Hinduism Gods

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About Gods And Goddesses
According to Hinduism, three Gods rule the world. Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer. These three Lords have consorts and they are Hindu goddesses too. Consort of Brahma is Sarasvati; goddess of learning. Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi; goddess of wealth and prosperity. Shiva's consort is Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga.

Besides these there are a number of other Hindu deities. To name a few, there is Hindu deity Ganesh, who has an elephant's head and he is also a son of Shiva and Parvati; Hanuman, who is an ape; Surya Lord of sun; Ganga Ma, Goddess of river Ganges; Samundra, Lord of the sea; Indra, king of the Gods; Prithvi, Goddess of earth; Shakti, Goddess of strength.

Hindu Goddesses And Deities - The Almighty
As Sri Ramakrishna says, there can be as many spiritual paths as there are spiritual aspirants & similarly there can really be as many Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees. The Hindu scriptures were eloquent while describing the qualities of God. He is all-knowing & all powerful. He is the very personification of justice, love & beauty. He is ever ready to shower His grace, mercy & blessings on His creation. From the Rig Veda, we come to know of the vedic gods eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra & Prajapathi, being the Gods of earth, the heavens & the space.

The main Hindu deity names as we accept today can be broadly classified as Saiva Gods (Siva, His consort, His sons, His other forms ), Vaishnava Gods ( Vishnu, His consort, His various avatharams ) & Sakthi (Personifying all energy).

List of Hindu Gods

Brahma - The Lord of Creation with his consort
Saraswathi - Goddess of wisdom

The top among Hindu deities list is Brahma is the Lord of creation & is assisted in this process by his consort Saraswathi, who is the possessor of ultimate knowledge. Brahma was born from the navel of Lord Vishnu at the end of one cycle to begin a fresh creation. He has four heads (originally five), representing the four vedas which are said to have sprung from his heads. His four heads are also said to represent the four yugas. He is bearded & his eyes are closed in meditation. He sits on a lotus & his vahana is the swan. In his four arms he holds the vedas, the kamandalam (water pot), suruva (sacrificial spoon) & a mala. He is a serene soul and is the provider of all sources of knowledge & wisdom.

There are no temples for Brahma (except the ones in Rajasthan & Orissa) as for Siva & Vishnu, for there has been no separate cult for Brahma as the Saiva or Vaishnava cult. According to mythology, he is supposed to have been cursed by Shiva (for his having uttered a lie & for his ego) that he would go without worship. Yet in all Siva & Vishnu temples, there is an image of Lord Brahma on the northern wall & he is one of the important Parivara devata (attendant deity).

One of the Trinities

Vishnu - The Lord of maintenance with his consort
Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth

Hindu deity Vishnu is the Lord of protection & maintenance. His consort (hindu female deities) Lakshmi is the possessor of wealth, which is a necessity for maintenance. Goddess Lakshmi represents not only material wealth, but the wealth of grains, courage, valour, offsprings, success, luxurious life, eternal bliss. Lord Vishnu is also called Nilameghashyamalan - possessing a complexion the colour of the dark clouds. As proof that opposites attract, Vishnu's outer appearance is dark while he is associated with the santha gunam, bringing light & peace to the world.

He rests on the ocean on his bed of Adisesha (serpent with 1,000 heads ). Any time Lord Vishnu sees great trouble, He takes an avataram to rescue the people from evils. He is all merciful, ever rushing to serve his devotees. In the form of Mahavishnu he has four arms wielding the chakra, conch, lotus & the gadha in his four arms. Some of the main avatarams of Vishnu are enumerated as the Dasavataram (10 Incarnations).

One of the Trinities

Shiva - The Lord of destruction with his consort
Parvathi - Goddess of disintegration

Siva, the last of the Trinities is the God of destruction & he is assisted in this by his consort Parvathi, the Goddess of disintegration. Parvathi represents prakriti, which means perishable matter, in the absence of which true and complete destruction by Siva becomes impossible. ( As we are all aware of today, only bio-degradable matter can be destroyed ). This could possibly be the meaning of the idea that Siva becomes nothing in the absence of Sakthi. Siva is generally worshipped in the form of the phallus (linga) fixed on a pedestal. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed & the Linga symbolises this scientific fact. The Linga denotes the primeval energy of the Creator. At the end of Creation all Gods find their resting place in the Linga - Brahma being absorbed into the right, Vishnu being absorbed into the left & Gayathri Devi being absorbed into the heart of the Linga.

Linga, the emblem of Siva is the main form worshipped in Siva temples. Siva in his human form is worshipped as the Utsava murthi, taken out on processions.
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Saraswathi - Goddess of Wisdom
Goddess Saraswathi is the consort of Lord Brahma (Lord of Creation) and is the Goddess of wisdom and learning. She is considered as the personification of all knowledge - arts, sciences, crafts and all skills. She is seen as a beautiful and elegant presence, pure white in colour, clad in a white sari, seated on a white lotus, representing purity and brilliance. She is depicted with four hands. In one hand she holds a book and in the other a rosary. With her other two hands, she is seen playing the veena. Her vahana is the swan and sometimes a peacock is shown accompanying her. The swan is known for its pecliar characteristic of being capable of separating out water from milk, indicating that we should possess discrimination in separating the bad from the good.

Like Brahma, she is not worshipped much in temples. However, every year the Saraswathi Pooja (Navarathiri ) is celebrated by all - schools, students, workers, craftsmen, businessmen offering their prayers for a successful and fruitful coming year.

Lakshmi - Goddess of Wealth
Goddess Lakshmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu ( Lord of Protection ). To go hand in hand with Lord Vishnu's act of maintenance and protection, Goddesses Lakshmi is the possessor of every form of wealth. She is the possessor of great beauty and is depicted in standing as well as in the seated postures. She is however always seen on a lotus. In her hands she holds two lotuses. In the avatarams of Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi also took various forms to accompany him - Sita with Rama, Rukmini with Krishna.

Ashta Lakshmi are her eight forms which are the commonly worshipped aspects. In each form, she bestows one form of wealth to her devotees. There are not as many temples for Lakshmi as for Sakthi (Parvathi), she is however worshipped in temples, more so in the north of India. There are numerous poojas and festivals which are performed to invoke her blessings and where the Hindu deities pictures of the Goddess are used to pray.

Parvathi - Consort of Siva
Parvathi (also worshipped as Hindu deity durga) is Lord Siva's consort & like Lord Siva, she is portrayed in her roudra & serene aspects.In her serene aspect, she is depicted as Uma or Parvathi & is usually seen along with Siva & also their children Lord Ganesha & Lord Muruga. She is seen with only two hands, holding a blue lotus in her right hand.

In her terrifying aspects, the most commonly worshipped forms are Durga & Kali. These are forms taken by the Goddess in an effort to destroy some form of evil & hence even these forms need not invoke fear, for she is the mother who has risen in anger only to destroy evil forces and provide eternal happiness and peace to her children.

Ganesha - Lord Who Removes Obstacles
Lord Ganesha is the most widely worshipped Hindu God. He is worshipped at the start of any action or venture, for he is considered to be the Lord who removes obstacles (vignam) and hence is also called Vigneshwara. He has an elephant head, four arms. In his upper hands he holds the pasa (noose) and ankusam. In the lower two hands are held in the abhaya and varada mudras. He is also seen holding his broken tusk in his right lower hand and a modhakam in his left lower hand. he has a huge belly and is fond of various sweets and fruits. He wears a sanke ornament round his belly. He is depicted in seated, standing and dancing postures.

He is considered a bachelor, but according to another school of thought, he has two Sakthis - Siddhi & Buddhi. Siddhi represents success and prosperity. Buddhi represents wisdom. His vahana is a tiny mouse. He is also known by other namavalis such as :

Ganapati (head of Siva ganas)
Gajanana (one with elephant face) Vigneshwara (one who removes obstacles)

Navagrahas - Solar System

After the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva) the Navagrahas (including Surya) have the maximum importance in Hindu Rituals. They are considered in all Hindu traditions as important steps towards creation of life on the earth.

All the nine grahas (planets) viz Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (Sanke's head) and Ketu (Snake's tail) give us pleasure and serenity and remove obstacles from our way. The names of the seven bodies (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) are still connected, in some languages, with the seven days of the week.

In astrology, great importance is placed on the positions of the various planets in the twelve constellations of the zodiac, the belt around the sky in which the movements of Sun, Moon and planets are confined.

Surya Bhagavan
Kalava Munivar had foreseen his future and realised that he would suffer from leprosy. He prayed to the Navagrahas, who being pleased with his devotion absolved him of the disease. Brahma Deva on realising that the Navagrahas were granting boons, instead of aspecting a person as per his/her good and bad deeds, condemned them to suffer from leprosy and banished them to earth.

The Navagrahas realising their mistake, pleaded for mercy. Brahma adviced them to seek the blessings of Lord Sva and his consort Uma Devi residing at Thirumangalakudi, after bathing in the holy river, Cauvery. He adviced them to consume only curd rice laid on Velerukku leaf.

Lord Siva, pleased with their devotion absolved them of their sins and decried that there will be nine sannadhis for the navagrahas in the Suryanar temple (this is the only temple where all the navagrahas are present with separate sannadhis) and those who pray here will get relief from their problems.

Chandra Bhagavan
Chandran is also hailed as Thingal and his abode is Thingalur, it is here that Chandran prayed to Lord Siva and got his blessings. As Chandran is held in the locks of Lord Siva, all devotees who worship Easwaran have also to worship this planet. The Devas and asuras were churning the paarkadal using Mandira Malai and the snake Vasuki. The asuras held the head portion of the snake and the devas, the tail portion. The poison emitted by Vasuki was consumed by Lord Siva to save the devas, but the toxicity of venom affected the Devas who swooned on its impact. Alongwith the nectar (amirtham), Chandran emerged and it was he who revived the Devas.

Apputhi Adigal was born in Thingalur. he was an ardent follower of Thirunavukkarasar, without ever laying his eyes on the great soul. He did a lot of welfare activity in his hometown in the name of Thirunavukkarasar. During his visit to this holytown Thirunavukkarasar heard about Apputhi Adigal and visited his abode and consented to partake in the meal offered in his honour. To serve food for Thirunavukkarasar, Apputhi Adigal sent his son to the garden to fetch a plantain leaf. When on this errand, a snake bit him and the lad passed away. Not wishing to disappoint his guest, Apputhi Adigal covered the corpse of his son and tried to serve his mentor. But realising the situation, Thirunavukkarasar carried the corpse to the temple of Lord siva in Thingalur and revived the boy singing and imploring the Lord with Thirupadigam.
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