Who is this Hindu icon?
August 14, 2012 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Who is this Hindu avatar depicted on the temple in Changu Narayan, Nepal?

What's the story?
posted by at the crossroads to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total)
It looks a little like a Ganesh missing a trunk, but the fact that he appears to be strangling a person and holding only weapons in his other hands is odd.

That said, according to Wikipedia, there is a lot of variation in depictions of Ganesh, so maybe this is just a slightly unusual iteration. It's mentioned there that sometimes he's depicted fighting demons. Maybe this is that?

That said, this figure doesn't have the protruding pot-belly, which is sort of elemental for Ganesh and not something that could fall off like a trunk.
posted by Sara C. at 8:12 PM on August 14, 2012

I'm by no means an expert, but it looks like it might be Vishnu's avatar Varaha (refer to this)?
posted by threeants at 8:16 PM on August 14, 2012

Oh, I found it! According to that photographer, it is in fact Vishnu's horse avatar Kalki.
posted by threeants at 8:18 PM on August 14, 2012

Yeah, it has to be Varaha. He's carrying the conch shell.

On the other hand, he's not blue, which is unusual for a Vishnu avatar.
posted by Sara C. at 8:20 PM on August 14, 2012

At first I thought it was Ganesh also, trunk broken off, but it just doesn't fit.
He doesn't have the ears or the belly to be Ganesh.
Also the weapons in his right hands is odd.

This one looks more like a fox or a mouse to me.
I have been looking at older versions of Ganesh and usually his trunk is next to the body, not protruding out, so it would be almost impossible to remove his trunk.

Yes, threeants! Thank you. It is Kalki.
posted by at the crossroads at 8:21 PM on August 14, 2012

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