Interesting Facts about Vahanas

Picture: Silver Rishaba Vahanas

Here is the Second List of Vahanas:

1.Vahanas for Ashta Bhairav:

Ashitanga Bhairav—Swan, Guru Bhairav—Bull, Krotha Bhairav—Garuda, Unmatha Bhairav—Horse, Kapala Bhairav—Elephant, Bitchana Bhairav—Pretha, Chanda  Bhairav—Peacock, Samhara Bhairav—Lion

2.Vahanas for Sapta Matha:

Sapta Mathas: Maheswari—Rishaba/Bull, Kali—Mahisha, Indrani—Elephant, Varahi—Pig, Narayani—Garuda/Eagle, Kaumari—Peacock/Mayura, Brahmi—Swan/Anna

Picture: Vahanas of Ashta Bhairav

3.Vahana Order in Temples: 6th Day=Gaja, 8th Day=Horse Vahana

Temple Vahanas are taken out in a particular order. The Agama Shastras have stipulated some rules regarding this. For instance Ani Thirumanjana Festival at Chidamabaram Shiva Temple is celebrated in the following order:

First Day: Dwaja Arohanam (Flag Hoisting),In the night Pancha murthy procession in Manjam

Second day: Silver ChandraPrabha Vahana

Third day: Gold Surya Prabha Vahana

Fourth day: Silver Bhutavahana

Fifth Day: Silver Rishaba Vahana

Sixth day: Silver Elephant Gaja Vahana

Seventh day: Gold Kailash Vahana

Eighth day: Bhikshadanar in Gold Chariot

Ninth Day: Rathothsavam (Ratham= Big Chariot)

Tenth day: Maha Abhishekam

Eleventh day: Muthu Pallakku ( Pearl Palanquin)

Saivaite temples do elephant vahana on the sixth day of festival.

Tirupati-Tirumala Brahmorchavam Calendar:

First Day-Dwajarohan: Flag of Eagle hoisted, Pedda Sesha Vanam/many headed snake vahana;

2n day: Chinna Sesha Vahana/five headed snake, evening Hamsa/swan Vahana;

3rd day: Simha/lion Vhana, evening Pearl Palanquin;

4th day: Karpaka Vrksha/wish fulfilling tree, Evening Bhoopala Vahana/lord of the world vahana;

5th day: Mohini Avatar, evening Garuda/eagle vahana;

6th day:Hanumantha vahana, evening Gaja/elephant vahana;

7th day: Surya Prabha vahana/under the sun vahana, evening Chandra Prabha vahana/under the moon vahana;

8th day: Rathotsavam/chariot festival, evening Horse/Aswa vahana;

9th day: Chakra snanam/lord’s disc is immersed in the tank and flag is lowered.

This is typical of North Tamil Nadu and Andhra temples. Surya and Chandra Prabha vahanas are absent in Southern Tamil Nadu. They replace it with other Vahanas. But 8th day is allocated for Kuthirai/Aswa/Horse vahana.

 

Picture of Agni Deva on Ram

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Festival Calendar

1st day:Dwara Arohanam;2nd day-Bhutha Vahanam, Anna Vahanam;3rd day-Golden Palnquin;4th day- Kuthirai/horse vahana, 5th day-Vrshaba Vahana;6th day-Nandhikeswara and Yali Vahana;7th day: Silver Simhasana/Lion Throne;8th day-Indra Vimanam;9th day- Gaja/Yanai Vahanam,Pushpa Pallaku;10th day-Ther/Chariot,11th day-Rishaba Vahana

4.Vahana in Amarakosha

Amarasimhan’s Amarakosha (First Dictionary of Synonyms in the World) gives Vahana names as other names for Gods. This shows people were very familiar with all Vahanas and flags 2000 years ago.

Hamsa Vahana means Brahma (Swan Vehicle)

Garudadwaja means Vishnu (Eagle Flag)

Vishnuratha means Garuda (chariot of Vishnu)

Vrushadwaja means Shiva (Bull Flag)

Siki Vahana means Lord Kartikeya (Peacock Vehicle)

Megha Vahana means Indra (Cloud as Vehicle)

Havya Vahana means Agni (Fire takes all Havis/food in Yagas)

Picture of Ashta Matrika with Vahanas

 

5.Unusual Vahanas

Some temples have lotus (India’s national flower) as vahana for goddess Devi. Tulsi (Holy Basil plant) also used as a Vahana. Alwartirunagari near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, has a strange vahana –Tamarind Tree (Imli in Hindi). This is used for one of the twelve Alvars known as Nammalvar. He attained wisdom under a tamarind tree. Another unusual vahana associated with this town is Parangi Narkali (Foreign Chair).The origin of this vahana is shrouded in mystery.

Chandi Devi in Sujanaghat has got varaha (pig) as vahana which is unusual.

6.Vahanas  of Ganesh

Dhumaketu (kaliyuga): Horse Vahana

Vinayakar (Kritayuga):Simha Vahana

Mayuresar (Treta yUga):Mayura Vahana

Gajananar (Dwapara Yuga): Mushika Vahana

7.Buddhist Vahanas

Buddists also have vahanas for their gods:

Vairochana- Dragon Vahana

Ratna Sambhava- Lion/simha

Amitabha—Mayura/peacock

Amoka siddhi-Eagle

Ashosabya-Elephant

8.Strange Vahanas of Temples

Several temples have unusual vahanas. It is a long list of strange things. Let us look at a few:

Pancha muka Heramba ganapathy-Simha vahana,Nagai Neelayathakshi; Mayura vahana ganapathy:Tiruanaikka,Aruppukottai,Puduvai Mankkula Vinayakar temple paintings; Horse vahana vinayakar-Chennapanayakkan palayam,Koyamputhur; Rishaba vahana ganapathy-Nellai Kanthimathi, Sucheendrum Temples; Elephant vahana Ganapathy-Tiruchendur, Sriviliputtur temples.

Pinna Kili, Gaja Lakshmi,Tulasi Brunda-Karur temple; Sarabha vahana-Tiruchendur Ambal; Kubera vahana-Kumbheswarar temple, Idumba vahana-Swamimalai Murugan; Kalaiman kida/antelope-Valliyur Murugan; Adhikara Nandhi_-Arunachaleswar temple.

In the next part we will look at the Vahanas on ancient Indian coins.

 

Picture Of Mahisasura Mardhani on Lion ,Mahabalipuram Caves

Also read my earlier posts:

1.Iraq: 7 Gods Procession on Vahanas

2.Deer Chariot: Rig Veda to Santa Claus

3.Hindu Vahanas around the World

4.Vahanas in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature

5.Who Rides What Vahanas?

6.உலகம் முழுதும் இந்து தெய்வ வாகனங்கள்

7.சங்கத் தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தில் வாகனங்கள்

8.வாகனங்கள் தோன்றியது எங்கே?ஏன்? எப்போது?

9.எந்தக் கடவுளுக்கு என்ன வாகனங்கள்?

10.Interesting Facts on Vahanas

Contact: swami_48@yahoo.com or swaminathan.santanam@gmail.com

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