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Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva seated on lotuses with their consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati

Hinduism is the dominant and native/original religion of the Indian subcontinent. It comprises four major traditions, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism, Shaktism, Saivism,[1] whose followers consider Vishnu, Brahma, Shakti(Devi) and Shiva to be the Supreme deity respectively. Most of the other deities were either related to them or different forms (incarnations) of these deities. Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, and many practitioners refer to Hinduism as "the eternal law". (Sanātana Dharma).[2] Given below is a list of the chief Hindu deities followed by a list of Hindu deities (including demi-gods). Smartism, an older tradition and later reestablished by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, invites the worship of more than one god including Shiva like that, Vishnu, Brahma, Shakti and Ganesha (the elephant god) among other gods and goddesses. It is not as overtly sectarian as either Vashnavism, Brahmanism or Saivism and is based on the recognition that Brahman (God) is the highest principle in the universe and pervades all of existence.[3][4][5][6]


Main deitiesEdit

The Hindu trinity consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. Their feminine counterparts are Saraswati, the wife of Brahma, Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, and Parvati the wife of Shiva. The followers of the last two form two major sects.

Devi (goddess)Edit

Cults of goddess worship are ancient in India. In the Rigveda, the most prominent goddess is Ushas, the goddess of dawn. In modern Hinduism, goddesses are widely revered. Shaktism is one of the major sects of Hinduism. Followers of Shaktism believe that the goddess (Devi) is the power (Shakti) that underlies the female principle, and that Devi is the supreme being, one and the same with Para Brahman. Shakti has many forms/manifestations like Parvati, Durga, and others but there are also goddesses that are parts of Shakti such as Lakshmi and Saraswati. Devi is believed to manifest in peaceful forms, such as Parvati the consort of Shiva and also in fierce forms, such as Kali and Durga. In Shaktism, Adi Parashakti is regarded as Ultimate Godhead or Para Brahman. She is formless i.e. Nirguna in reality, but may take many forms i.e. Saguna. Durga and Lalita Tripurasundari are regarded as the Supreme goddess in the Kalikula and Srikula systems respectively. Shaktism is closely related with Tantric Hinduism, which teaches rituals and practices for purification of the mind and body.[3][4][5][6] Some different parts of Shakti (Devi) the Mother Goddess:

  • Parvati and her Navadurgas, Matrikas, and Mahavidyas
  • Kali (form of Parvati) as Bhadrakali, an auspicious form of Kali and Bharavi/Chamundikeshwari often known as Chandi, as a ferocious form
  • Bhumi, the mother Earth known as Prithvi and second wife of lord Vishnu
  • Lakshmi and her Ashtalakshmi, goddess of wealth and first wife of lord Vishnu
  • Saraswati , the goddess of wisdom and music and also first wife of lord Brahma
  • Gayatri, the supreme life giving goddess and second wife of lord Brahma
  • Ganga, the goddess personification of the Ganges River, she later married King Shantanu as his first wife and gave birth to Bhishma Pitamah in the Mahabharat era.
  • Narmada, the daughter of Shiva, also goddess of river Narmada
  • Annapoorna (incarnation of Goddess Parvati), the goddess of food
  • Nindra, goddess of sleep
  • Yami, the sacred river Yamuna and goddess of life
  • Santoshi Mata, considered to be the goddess of happiness and long life
  • Sati(first wife of lord Shiva), a goddess of boons who is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shakti who is widely worshiped in south India.


Shaivism is one of the major Hindu sects. Adherents of Shaivism believe that the god Shiva is the supreme being. Shiva is the destroyer god among the Trimurti, and so is sometimes depicted as the fierce god Bhairava. Shaivists are more attracted to asceticism than adherents of other Hindu sects, and may be found wandering with ashen faces performing self-purification rituals.[3][4][5][6] Some alternative forms of Shiva (and Bhairavs) are listed below:


According to Hinduism, Brahma is the creator of the entire cosmic universe. Although he is the creator he is not worship in Hinduism. One of the stories says that, once lord Brahma & lord Vishnu were arguing who is the best of the two, and they went to lord Shiva settle the argument. So lord Shiva said who ever find the either of the two ends of my whole body first will be the greatest of the two. Both lord Brahma & lord Vishnu accepted and started thier journey from the centre of lord Shiva's body. Lord Brahma started to find the head & lord Vishnu started to find the feet. They both travelled for years & years & for very long distance in the vastness of the cosmic sky, but both couldn't find the head or the feet of lord Shiva. Brahma saw an Aloe Vera flower falling from lord Shiva's head & asks it how far is the head of Shiva. The flower says it's been falling down from Shiva's head for many many year. So lord Brahma realised it's impossible to find the Shiva's head couldn't wait anymore & and thought of cheating, so he said to the flower "if you were asked to testify weather i have seen lord Shiva's head you have to say yes". So Brahma comes back to Shiva & says I found & saw your head. Shiva was astonished & knew Brahma was lying. So lord Shiva cursed lord Brahma that he would not be worshipped by any gods and any being on the earth and he would not have temples on earth and also cursed the Aloe vera flower that it should never be used for Shiva Pooja(ritual) and said lord Vishnu is the greatest of the two, for his patience and truthfulness. Some alternative names of Brahma are :

  • "Vednatha"
  • "Chaturmukha"
  • "Prajapati"
  • "Hiranyagarbha"
  • "Vedagarbha"


Vaishnavism is the sect within Hinduism that worships Vishnu, the preserver god of the Hindu Trimurti (the Trinity), and his many incarnations. It is a devotional sect, and followers worship many deities, including Rama and Krishna both the 7th & the 8th incarnations of Vishnu respectively. The adherents of this sect are generally non-ascetic, monastic and devoted to meditative practice and ecstatic chanting.[3][4][5][6] Some alternate names of Vishnu the Preserver:

Related deitiesEdit

  • Yamuna, the life energy, the daughter of lord Surya and the goddess of kindness, humanity, beauty.
  • Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati and was also called Ganpati, the Ganapatya sectary worshipped Ganesha as their chief deity. He is the god of wisdom and remover of all obstacles. He is worshipped before any other devi or deiti.
  • Kartikeya, son of Shiva and Parvati and was also called Muruga, Karthik, Kumara or Shanmukha, the Kaumaram sectary worshipped Subramanya as their chief deity. He's also the brother of Lord Ganesha.
  • Ayyappan, son of Shiva and Mohini and was also called Shastha
  • Hanuman, is the monkey devotee and messenger of Rama (incarnation of Vishnu) and was also called Anjaneya, since his mother is anjana
  • Ganga, holi river in Hinduism, as third wife of Shiva after Sati and Parvati
  • Hansa, the devoted swan who acts as the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Brahma.
  • Garuda, the devoted eagle who acts as the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Vishnu.
  • Nandi, the devoted bull who acts as the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Shiva.

Avatars (incarnations)Edit


  1. Durga
  2. Kamalatmika
  3. Mahakali
  4. Kali
  5. Bhadrakali
  6. Chandi
  7. Chamunda
  8. Bagalamukhi
  9. Chhinnamasta
  10. Rudrani
  11. Mhalsa
  12. Navadurga
  13. Tara
  14. Bhairavi
  15. Dhumavati
  16. Matangi
  17. Narayani
  18. Tripura Sundari
  19. Kamakhya
  20. Meenakshi
  21. Kamakshi
  22. Vishalakshi
  23. Abhirami
  24. Kanya Kumari
  25. Aswarooda
  26. Bhuvaneswari
  27. Chandi
  28. Sati
  29. Chamundi
  30. Annapoorna
  31. Akhilandeswari
  32. Sathakshi
  33. Bhramari
  34. Kausiki
  35. Aparna
  36. Mahadevi
  37. Maheshwari
  38. Raja Rajeswari
  39. Katyayani
  40. Mahagauri
  41. Yogamaya
  42. Shivani
  43. Ambika
  44. Shakti
  45. Adi parashakti
  46. Uma Haimavati
  47. Matangi
  48. Mariamman
  49. Bhavani
  50. Gayatri


  1. Vakratunda (Vakratuṇḍa) ("twisting trunk"), his mount is a lion.
  2. Ekadanta ("single tusk"), his mount is a mouse.
  3. Mahodara ("big belly"), his mount is a mouse.
  4. Gajavaktra (or Gajānana) ("elephant face"), his mount is a mouse.
  5. Lambodara ("pendulous belly"), his mount is a mouse.
  6. Vikata (Vikaṭa) ("unusual form", "misshapen"), his mount is a peacock.
  7. Vighnaraja (Vighnarāja) ("king of obstacles"), his mount is the celestial serpent Śeṣa.
  8. Dhumravarna (Dhūmravarṇa) ("grey color") corresponds to Śiva, his mount is a horse.


  1. Shankar Avatar
  2. Veerabhadra Avatar
  3. Bhairava Avatar
  4. Khandoba Avatar
  5. Nataraja Avatar
  6. Ashwatthama Avatar
  7. Ardhanarishvara Avatar
  8. Muneeswarar Avatar
  9. Muthappan Avatar
  10. Pashupati Avatar
  11. Gangeshwar Avatar
  12. Rudra Avatar
  13. Lingam Avatar
  14. [[Dakshinamurthy] Avatar]
  15. Ravananugraha Avatar
  16. Vaidheeswara Avatar
  17. Lingodbhava Avatar
  18. Somaskanda Avatar
  19. Bhikshatana Avatar
  20. Sri Manjunatha Avatar
  21. Vaidhyanatha Avatar
  22. Mahakaleshwara Avatar
  23. Tryambak Avatar
  24. Bholenath Avatar


  1. Valki Avatar
  2. Kashyapa Avatar
  3. Sukra Avatar
  4. Kalidasa Avatar
  5. Chandra Avatar
  6. Samudra Avatar
  7. Jamvanta Avatar
  8. Agastya Avatar
  9. Durvasa Avatar
  10. Buddha Avatar



  1. Matsya, the fish
  2. Kurma, the tortoise
  3. Varaha, the boar
  4. Narasimha, the Half Man-Half Lion avatar.
  5. Vamana, the Dwarf
  6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe
  7. Rama, the king of Ayodhya and the hero of the epic Ramayana
  8. Krishna, a hero of the epic Mahabharata.
  9. Buddha, the founder of Buddhism
  10. Kalki who is expected to appear at the end of Kalyug


  1. Lalita
  2. Sridevi
  3. Sita
  4. Rukmini
  5. Padmavati
  6. Radha
  7. Vedavati
  8. Tulasi
  9. Padmawati
  10. Aadi Lakshmi
  11. Aishwarya Lakshmi
  12. Vidya Lakshmi
  13. Dhana Lakshmi
  14. Santana Lakshmi
  15. Dhaanya Lakshmi
  16. Gaja Lakshmi
  17. Veera Lakshmi
  18. Vijaya Lakshmi
  19. Dhairya Lakshmi
  20. Vidya Lakshmi
  21. Kamala
  22. Bhudevi
  23. Andal
  24. Bhargavi
  25. Tridevi


  1. Savitri
  2. Vani
  3. Brahmani
  4. Mahasaraswati

Minor godsEdit

The Rigveda speaks of Thirty-three gods called the Trayastrinshata ('Three plus thirty'). They consists of the 12 Adityas, the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras and the 2 Ashvins. Indra also called Śakra, lord of the gods, is the first of the 33 followed by Agni. Some of these brother gods were invoked in pairs such as Indra-Agni, Mitra-Varuna and Soma-Rudra.



The Ramayana tells they are eleven of the 33 children of the sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi, along with the 12 Adityas, 8 Vasus and 2 Ashvins, constituting the Thirty-three gods.[7] The Vamana Purana describes the Rudras as the sons of Kashyapa and Aditi.[8] The Matsya Purana notes that Surabhi – the mother of all cows and the "cow of plenty" – was the consort of Brahma and their union produced the eleven Rudras. Here they are named: Nirriti, Shambhu, Aparajita Mrigavyadha, Kapardi, Dahana, Khara, Ahirabradhya, Kapali, Pingala and Senani.[9] Brahma allotted to the Rudras the eleven positions of the heart and the five sensory organs, the five organs of action and the mind.[8][10]


Assistants of Indra and of Vishnu

  • Agni the "Fire" god, also called Anala or "living",
  • Varuna the "Water" god, also called Antarikṣa the "Atmosphere" or "Space" god,
  • Vāyu the "Wind", the air god, also called Anila ("wind")
  • Dyauṣ the "Sky" god, also called Dyeus and Prabhāsa or the "shining dawn"
  • Pṛthivī the "Earth" god, also called Dharā or "support"
  • Sūrya the "Sun" god, also called Pratyūsha, ("break of dawn", but often used to mean simply "light"), the Saura sectary worshipped Sūrya as their chief deity.
  • Soma the "Moon" god, also called Chandra
  • Samudra the "Sea" god, also called as "Sagar"


The Ashvins (also called the Nāsatyas) were twin gods. Nasatya is also the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra.

List in alphabetical orderEdit

Most of the Hindu temples are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu (including his incarnations Krishna and Rama), Brahma, Shakti (the mother goddess, hence including the forms of Durga and Kali and the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati), Ganesh and Hanuman.[11][12][13] The Hindu scriptures claimed that there were 33 KOTI or 33 category gods, koti meaning in Sanskrit crore (33 कोटि = 10 prakar, tarah ). Crore also translates to 10,000,000 or 10 million.

One theory is that the number 330 million (33 crore) gods refers to the total count of the then known population of all the humans and living beings that ever walked on this planet including the 84 lakh (8.4 million) jeeva rasi (living species) signifying that god exists in every living being. This is in line with the belief of Indians to respect all living beings as gods. It is estimated that the world population was around this number about a 1000 years ago when this number would have originated. It also explains the many gods (e.g. the grama devatas or village gods who were clearly living persons at one time and many of the other gods who were believed to have been persons, e.g. Rama and Krishna)

Another theory is that the number might be figurative but there are several names and forms for the multitude of gods.[14] Given below is an incomplete list of deities.


  • Ahswhrat, Minor god of trickery and mischief
  • Aakash
  • Acyutah, another name of Vishnu.
  • Adimurti one of Vishnu's avatars.
  • Aditi is mother of the Devas.
  • Adityas, are the offspring of Aditi.
  • Agni* is the god of fire, and acceptor of sacrifices.
  • Anala "fire" in Sanskrit, equated among Agni.
  • Anila is one of the Vasus, gods of the elements of the cosmos. He is equated with the wind god Vāyu, Anila being understood as the name normally used for Vāyu when numbered among the Vasus.
  • Annapurna Devi Mata
  • Anumati ("divine favor" in Sanskrit, Devanagari: अनुमति), also known as Chandrama, is a lunar deity and goddess of wealth, intellect, children, spirituality, and prosperity. Her vehicle is Krisha Mrigam or Krishna Jinka (Blackbuck).
  • Anuradha
  • Ap In Hinduism, it is also the name of the deva, a personification of water, one of the Vasus in most later Puranic lists.
  • Apam Napat is an eminent figure of the Indo-Iranian pantheon. In Hinduism, Apām Napāt is the god of fresh water, such as in rivers and lakes. In Zoroastrianism, Apąm Napāt is also a divinity of water, see also Burz.
  • Aranyani is a goddess of the forests and the animals that dwell within them. Aranyani has the distinction of having one of the most descriptive hymns in the Rigveda dedicated to her, in which she is described as being elusive, fond of quiet glades in the jungle, and fearless of remote places.
  • Aravan also known as Iravat (इरावत्, Irāvat)[1] and Iravant, is a minor character from the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. The son of Pandava prince Arjuna (one of the main heroes of the Mahabharata) and the Naga princess Ulupi, Iravan is the central god of the cult of Kuttantavar (Tamil: கூத்தாண்டவர்) —which is also the name commonly given to him in that cult—and plays a major role in the cult of Draupadi.
  • Ardhanari is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The left half is usually the female Parvati, illustrating her traditional attributes and the right half, Shiva.
  • ArdraThe Hindu myth associated to Ardra is that of Taraka. Taraka is an asura who is granted invulnerability by Brahma.[1]
  • Arjuna (pronounced [ɐrˈɟunɐ] in classical Sanskrit) (lit. 'bright' or 'silver' (cf. Latin argentum)) is the third of the Pandavas, the sons and princes of Pandu, who with Krishna, is considered to be the hero of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
  • Aruna is a personification of the reddish glow of the rising Sun,[1] which is believed to have spiritual powers. The presence of Aruṇá, the coming of day, is invoked in Brahmin prayers to Surya.
  • Arundhati is the wife of the sage Vashista, one of the seven sages (Saptarshi) who are identified with the Ursa Major. She is identified with the morning star and also with the star Alcor which forms a double star with Mizar (identified as Vashista) in Ursa Major.
  • Aryaman is one of the early Vedic deities (devas). His name signifies "bosom friend". He is the third son of Aditi. He is an Aditya, a solar deity. He is supposed to be the chief of the manes and the Milky Way is supposed to be his path.
  • Ashapura -Mata no Madh is one of aspect devi. Her temples are mainly found in Gujarat.
  • Asura (Sanskrit: असुर,[1] Sanskrit ásu – "life force".[2] Compare: Æsir. Also see: Ahura Mazda) are non-suras, a different group of power-seeking deities besides the suras, sometimes considered naturalists, or nature-beings. They are the forces of chaos that are in constant battle with the Devas.
  • Asvayujau is a goddess of good luck, joy and happiness.
  • Aswiniis the first nakshatra (lunar mansion) in Hindu astrology, corresponding to the head of Aries, including the stars β and γ Arietis. The name aśvinī is used by Varahamihira (6th century). The older name of the asterism, found in the Atharvaveda (AVS 19.7; in the dual) and in Panini (4.3.36), was aśvayúj "harnessing horses"
  • Ayyappan is a Hindu deity worshiped in a number of shrines across India. Ayyappan is believed to be an incarnation of Dharma Sasta, who is the offspring of Shiva and Vishnu (as Mohini, is the only female avatar of the God Vishnu) and is generally depicted in a yogic posture
  • Ayyanar
  • Ayya Vaikundar
  • Aryadurga ( Devihasol Rajapur )
  • Annamma
  • Ajjayya




Ram-faced Daksha (right) with Virabhadra form of Shiva










19th century South Indian depiction of Raja-Matangi



Parvati as Shakti









See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nath 2001, p. 31.
  2. ^ Knott 1998, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Four Denominations of Hinduism". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "The Four Main Denominations". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Hindu Sects". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Dubois. Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. Cosimo. p. 111.
  7. ^ Mani pp. 654–5
  8. ^ a b Daniélou, Alain (1991). The myths and gods of India. Inner Traditions International. pp. 102–4, 341, 371. ISBN 0-89281-354-7.
  9. ^ A Taluqdar of Oudh (2008). The Matsya Puranam. The Sacred books of the Hindus. 2. Cosmo Publications for Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. pp. 74–5, 137. ISBN 81-307-0533-8.
  10. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: A Comprehensive Dictionary With Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 0-8426-0822-2.
  11. ^ "Hindu Gods & Goddesses". Sanatan Society. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Hinduism". Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Hindu gods and goddesses". usefulcharts. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  14. ^ Lynn Foulston, Stuart Abbott. Hindu goddesses: beliefs and practices. pp. 1–2.


  • Brodd, Jeffrey (2003). World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery. Saint Mary's Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5.: '[..] many gods and goddesses (traditionally 330 million!) [...] Hinduism generally regards its 330 million as deities as extensions of one ultimate reality, many names for one ocean, many "masks" for one God.'
  • Brown, Joe David, ed. (1961). India. Time-Life Books. Time, Inc.: "Though the popular figure of 330 million is not the result of an actual count but intended to suggest infinity, the Hindu pantheon in fact contains literally hundreds of different deities [...]"
  • Knott, Kim (1998). Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Nath, Vijay (2001). From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition. Social Scientist. pp. 19–50.

External linksEdit