Shiva & Parvati

Shiva is seen as the destroyer of evil with his consort Parvati (also known as Durga). He is often depicted with a trident and snakes, showing his power over deadly creatures. Shiva and Parvati are popular deities and Hindus who are dedicated to them may wear three horizontal lines on their foreheads.

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image to follow One of Shiva and Parvati's sons is the elephant-headed Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. A version of the story of how he came to have an elephant's head begins with Shiva going into the forest to meditate.

Parvati, desiring a child, created her son from the dirt and clay of her body. She set Ganesh to guard her cave whilst she was bathing. On his return Shiva did not recognise Ganesh, who prevented him from entering the cave as his mother had commanded. In his anger Shiva struck off Ganesh's head with his trident.

On discovering who Ganesh was, he promised to replace his head with that of the first creature he encountered in the forest, which happened to be an elephant.

© Mr.B at Woodford County High