Category Archives: Soma

Chandra in art : moon-god depictions

The Moon-God is Chandra or Soma in Hindu mythology.  He is believed to have emerged during the samudramanthana or churning of the ocean of milk. One legend says he is the son of Surya another mentions him as the son of Atri. As per the Vishnu Purana the moon is said to receive nectar or amrita from the Sun and distribute to the Gods,human beings, animals and plants.Chandra is the lord of plants and vegetation.

      Chandra has been depicted in sculpture and paintings. He is a copper-coloured deity with a red banner and rides in a chariot at night cross the sky, drawn by an antelope or ten white horses.  He is a beautiful God, two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. The royal lineage of the Chandravamshis derives its name from the moon. He is the father of Budha, Planet Mercury. Budha is born form his union with Tara, wife of Brihaspati or Planet Jupiter. This angers Brihaspati who wages war, but the devas (Gods) interfere and Tara returns to Brihspati. As per another legend Chandra is married to to 27 daughters of Daksha . He favours only Rohini and so his other wives complain to Daksha who curses Chandra which account for the waxing and waning of the moon. The nakshatras are named after his wives in Hindu astrology.

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Chandra, sculpture,13th century, Konark,British Museum,U.K.

By Redtigerxyz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

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Mandala of Chandra, distemper on cloth, 14th-early 15th century, Nepal.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Chandra, The Moon God; Folio from a Book of Dreams LACMA M.83.219.2 (2 of 3).jpg

Chandra,painting, early 18th century, Udaipur, Rajasthan.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Chandra,illustration,19th century.

By E. A. Rodrigues – The complete Hindoo Pantheon, comprising the principal deities worshipped by the Natives of British India throughout Hindoostan, Public Domain,


References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.



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Soma Ghosh

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