indra darśana

To my best knowledge, Indra has no temples of his own within India; however, there are a very few temples, dedicated to other Devas, which also contain his image. The Indian devotee may find him in the following places:

  • Andhra Pradesh, Arasavalli, Sūryanārāyaṇa temple: There is purported to be a beautiful statue of Indra within the Sūryanārāyaṇa complex, as well as a sacred pond “Pushkarini” that Indra created with his vajra.

  • Gujarat, Bilimora, Gāyatrī Mandir: There is an Indra murti within the temple, a lovely image with a photograph available.

  • Himachal Pradesh, Sirmaur district, left bank of the Renuka Lake, Gāyatrī Devi temple: A marble idol of Indra is installed here.

  • Maharashtra, Mumbai, Mumba Devi temple: There is a statue of Indra here.

  • Maharashtra, Trimbak, Tryambakeśvara temple: The shrine of Indreshwar Mahadev (a form of Śiva) houses a statue of Indra on Airāvata. There is also an Indra tirtha here.

  • Rajasthan, Pushkar, Brahmā temple: This unique temple in Pushkar seems to have an image of Indra among the temple murtis, though it is difficult to see in this photograph.

  • Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (Morattandi), Navagraha temple: This newly-built temple has a statue group of Devī, Gaṇeśa, Bhairava, and Indra; you can see them in a photograph about halfway down this page, which also tells the story of the temple.

Images of Indra sometimes appear in ancient temples that are no longer used for worship. He is often depicted in temple carvings, and if a temple houses a statue at each of the eight compass directions, they are likely the Aṣṭa-Dikpālas (eight directional guardians), and Indra will be the one in the East.

One may best find Indra by knowing his attributes. In accordance with śāstra:
–He is depicted as either two- or four-armed, wearing the kirīṭa (a cylindrical crown, rounded at the top).
–He may sit either atop his vehicle, the elephant Airāvata, or in the seated posture known as rāja-līla: feet together with the right knee raised, the right arm resting gracefully on the knee.
–His four hands are: 1) Holding either a lotus or a water-vessel, 2) Wielding an aṅkuśa (elephant goad, which looks like a staff with a hook at the end), 3) Wielding his weapon Vajra or, less frequently, a mace, and 4) Either open in the wish-fulfilling or blessing gesture, or embracing his wife Śacī.
–In a few cases, his name in Devanāgarī script (इन्द्र or इंद्र) is carved by his feet.

Indra also appears sometimes as a character in dance performances. He is represented in Bharatanatyam dance by a double-hand gesture which may be seen here.

These are his characteristics as a Hindu Deva, but Indra is also worshipped by Buddhists and Jains and is depicted in numerous beautiful ways all over the world. Here are some examples of his many forms.

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This slideshow houses a small collection of Indra depictions from many places and times, ranging from an 8th century gilded bronze statue in Sri Lanka to 20th century ISKCON paintings displayed in a Swedish gallery. The group includes free-standing statues from museums, parks, temples, and other public spaces; small murtis intended for home worship; paintings, drawings, and other art images; and modern depictions, such as television and film screenshots and frames of comic book art.

Of course this is not every image of Indra on earth, but a representative sample of the many ways he is imagined by different faiths and cultures. It’s also a little biased: I deliberately omitted some of the art depicting him, because the common representation of “thousand-eyed Indra” – a man whose flesh is covered with eyes – looks grotesque to me.

If you: a) can confirm the presence of Indra in any of the above-mentioned temples, b) know of other locations in India where Indra is worshipped, or c) have any image you would like to add to this slideshow, please contact me directly or leave a comment on this entry.

Last updated 20 October 2012.

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© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 thoughts on “indra darśana

  1. Hi Arjuni,
    Thank you for the collection of Indra Pictures.
    I always think that it was Indra who brought us together.

    This morning I read some Mangala Stotras which say “May you get the same kind of Mangala as when Indra, Sahasraksha killed Vrtra” and so on.

    Also I found that the Mahalakshmi Ashtakam is by Indra!
    Love,
    Satya

    • I agree, and I will always be grateful to Indra for showing me the way to you. :) And Sahasraksha is one of my favourite epithets for him; thank you so much for sharing that!

      I did know that about the Mahalakshmi Ashtakam – I discovered it when reading about the connection of Sri and Indra in the Vedas, and was reminded again when, a few months ago, I went looking for any prayers or such that might be addressed to Indra, and found instead prayers and songs by Indra! What I have read of his is – not surprisingly – beautiful.

      You are the fire and you are the nectar,
      Hey Goddess who purifies the world,
      You are the dusk, the night, the shining one…

      You are the greatest knowledge, you are the secret knowledge,
      You are the knowledge of the soul and oh, holy goddess,
      You are that which leads one to freedom from bondage…

    • I did encounter this information at one time, but completely forgot to bookmark it or add the reference to the mantra page. Thank you very much for the reminder – and in time for Mahā Śivarātri, too!

      • I recite 3rd Anuvaka of Chamakam as part of ‘Vasordhaaraa’ (stream of excellence) during homam. Since your are much devoted to Lord Indra, you have a choice to offer ‘6th Anuvaka’ by pouring a stream of ghee on fire during your fire ritual alongside the 3rd Anuvaka (thirty six aspirations are prayed to be fulfilled in this third Anuvaka). This is just an idea got into my mind.

  2. It is a beautiful idea. I’m not trained to chant Vedic mantra properly, I’m afraid, but I am enjoying listening to recordings online and can at least benefit from hearing others recite.

  3. Thank you, IMHO, Vedic Mantras are self corrective.
    I believe,many people on Vedic-Wisdom group are not trained for it, Intonations and the pronunciation has got mere weightage if you have love and devotion to God.
    In my case, Initially I just got baffled to read the first stanza itself. Nature started conspiring and helping me since i truly want to learn and do a sadhana. Hope this will work out for anyone.

    Nothing to bias your idea of listening, i donot know your minds and constrains. Forgive me if i am wrong. However,my recommendation is to memorize the ‘6th Anuvaka’. :):)

  4. I would love to speak with you personally. I am also a western female (age 36) that studies Hinduism. I am planning a visit to Nepal this November for Diwali, followed by a tour of Southern Thailand. I would love to consider it a pilgrimage but I intend to work in healthcare while I’m there, giving back to the country that is hosting me. I would so value a personal conversation with someone that was just there.

    Warmest regards,

    Leona

  5. HI

    May I request you for information like how many sons did Indra have and their names ?

    Here is a picture of Indra for adding in your collection, if it is not there already.

    • Thank you very much for the picture!

      As for Indra’s sons, I know of three: Jayanta, Vali, and Arjuna. If there is other information you would like, please give me an address where I can send you e-mail.

  6. Pingback: Peek-tures. « ridiculously reverent

  7. Pingback: Hindus should restart worshipping Indra - Page 14 - Religious Education Forum

  8. Pingback: 30 Days, day 12: Indra’s places. | ridiculously reverent

  9. I am very fond of our ancient culture traditions and religion. Indra to me is Lord of Lords. All other God were created much after Indra due to some historic reasons perhaps. But I am devotee of LORD INDRA. I am indebted to you that at one place you have shown me so many faces of My Lord. May Lord Indra bless you.

    • Sorry fellas but I understand that Indra was a king and devotee of Vishnu. He killed his father, through his unique way which were ahead of his time, he somehow convinced Rishi Vamdev @ Narad to write Richas in his name. And at an appropriate time he declared himself Dev.

  10. i remember seeing an idol of Indra in the EKlingji temple on NH 8 on way to Nathdwara. He is housed in his own small temple.

  11. I have been going through Lord Indra and happen to see this – I too feel the blessings of Lord Indra. I feel something happened to our Relegion due to which Indra is totally missing among idols in India and I do now feel while noting certain thoughts of some in the web that Indra is coming back

    Om Im Indraya Namaha

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