Category Archives: Shiva

Lord Shiva – images from miniature paintings

          Lord Shiva is one of the trinity of the Gods in Hinduism along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Mahashivaratri is a festival celebrated every year in honour of Lord Shiva. It marks the day of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There is a Shivaratri every luni-solar month in the Hindu calendar on the month’s 13th/14th day but once a year is Mahashivaratri, the great night of Shiva which also heralds the summer season. The festival is celebrated at night and is a solemn time for introspection, fasting and all-night vigil by the devotee. The festival is observed by chanting and discovering the ”Shiva” within us, overcoming of darkness and ignorance. Mahashivaratri finds mention in the Skandapurana, Lingapurana and Padmapurana. Lord Shiva has been depicted in miniature painting schools across India.


Lord Shiva, depicting ”Bhairava raga” and Shiva as Bhikshatana , Ragamala painting, Pahari, Nurpur, late 17th century.     

      Shiva  or the auspicious one is the supreme being within Shaivism. He is known as the destroyer. Parvati is the equal complementary partner of Shiva. He is depicted as an omniscient and ascetic yogi who lives on Mount Kailash, but he is also depicted as a householder with his wife and two children.  Lord Shiva in his fierce aspects is seen slaying demons; his iconography shows the river Ganges flowing from his matted hair, third eye on his forehead, the trident as his weapon, and the ”damaru” or drum with him. Nandi the Bull is his vehicle. Lord Shiva has both a benevolent and terrifying aspect as mentions the Yajurveda.  The name Rudra and Bhairava depicts his fearsome aspects.  Lord Shiva is also called ”Mahakala” or great time which ultimately destroys everything. The name ”Shankara” reflects Lord Shiva as beneficent. So does the name ”Shambhu”, which means self-lit !
    In fact, prototypes of Lord Shiva has been found at the Indus Valley civilisation sites, a seal found at Mohenjodaro, representing Pashupati, an epithet of Lord Shiva. The figure is also seen seated in a yoga posture. This is still being debated though !

A five-headed Lord Shiva and Parvati seated with Nandi, Kangra school,miniature painting, 1800, San Diego Museum of Art, U S A.

Lord Shiva mourning the demise of Sati, Kalighat painting, 19th century.

Lord Shiva with Parvati and their children Ganesha and Kartikeya, Kangra school, miniature painting, San Diego Museum of Art, U S A.

படிமம்:Shiva kills the demon Andhaka.jpg

Lord Shiva kills Andhaka, the demon, painting from an appendix of Persian Razmnama, Harivamsa, late 16th century, V and A Museum, U.K.

Lord Shiva and Parvati seated on a terrace. Jaipur school, 1800s, British Museum, U K.


References :

  • Images are from Wikimedia Commons


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Soma Ghosh