Are Tattoos Forbidden in Hinduism?

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In Hinduism, tattoos are allowed both for religious and cultural practices. Tattoos are not just allowed, but Hinduism is the origin of many tattoo designs, especially the popular ‘’OM’’ symbol and Mehndi, et cetera.

The only restriction is acquiring a tattoo that disrespects or insults Hindu gods. For that reason, Hindus don’t often draw tattoos of their gods on their legs or below the waist. They also prefer to get a tattoo name of their gods as opposed to their image.

But generally, tattooing in Hinduism is a more liberal practice as compared to Christianity or Islam.

Stay tuned as I highlight the most common tattoos in Hinduism.

8 Most Popular Tattoos in Hinduism

1. Mehndi

Mehndi is a popular form of body art in Hinduism drawn on legs or hands.

It is applied as decorative drawings on your body and made using paste from the henna plant. Henna has its roots traced back to ancient times when they used it to dye the skin.

Mehndi in Hinduism tradition is usually applied during festivals like Diwali, Karva Chauth, Teej, Navratri, and Hindu weddings.

Hindu women apply Mehndi designs on their feet and hands, whereas alopecia patients and cancerous ones use them to decorate their scalps after their hair falls.

The two most popular Mehndi designs include:

Mandala designs are geometric symbols used in Hinduism for spiritual traditions, usually drawn on the center of your palm.

Arabic designs: This pattern is drawn in Arabic dialect and starts from your wrist to your fingertip. Flowers and vines form the main part of this pattern.

Indian woman hiding her eyes with her hands

2. OM Symbol

OM symbol is a popular tattoo in Hinduism with a deep spiritual meaning and is widely regarded as the greatest sacred formula.

It’s a symbol that embodies the meaning of the universe and is chanted at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers.

The symbol should be tattooed where you can see it, especially if you meditate daily on it for affirmation.

You should note that the OM symbol is not allowed to be placed below the waistline as it is seen as a cultural appropriation and disrespect.

3. Lotus Flower 

Lotus Flower 

Lotus flower tattoos generally are believed to represent becoming a better version of yourself and being able to overcome temptations.

In Hinduism,  Lotus flower tattoos are popularly referred to as the Padma, symbolizing purity, spiritual growth, and beauty.

4. Mandala 

A mandala tattoo is believed to symbolize perfection, infinity, and balance.

In Hinduism, Mandala Tattoo is embedded in meditation rooms as its symbolizes focus when praying and meditating.

5. Lord Shiva

Shiva is one of the main gods of Hinduism and is believed to be the master of fertility. The god is also believed to be the master of medicine and poison through his huge power over snakes.

Shiva is worshipped in the form of bull Nandi which is a sculpture, and also in the form of a lingam, which is a cylindrical object embedded in a spouted dish.

You may decide to put a Shiva tattoo on your back, which symbolizes that he is the one you follow in life. You may also opt to put it on your chest, which means you highly regard him in your life.

Man with tattoos

6. Kali Goddess

Getting a Kali tattoo symbolizes protection from evil and destructive nature. Kali goddess is believed to be nurturing, primordial, and protective of her children from any harm.

It is also believed that she has strong destructive powers, although she does not hurt those who are innocent, and her destruction always leads to a better rebirth.

You should avoid getting a tattoo of Kali below your waist because it’s believed those parts of the body touch dirt and access toilet areas hence a sign of disrespect to the goddess.

7. Ganesha

Ganesha is the Hindu god and has an elephant head.

Getting a tattoo of Ganesha symbolizes that you will be full of new beginnings and intellect and free of obstacles to your success.

It is advised that when you get his tattoo, you ought to respect his beliefs and culture.

You should also ensure you draw the tattoo above the waistline to show his maximum respect.

8. Lord Krishna

Krishna is a major god in Hinduism. He is regarded as the eighth Vishnu and a supreme god to the rest.

A tattoo of Krishna symbolizes maximum protection from any danger, love, compassion, and kindness to follow you wherever you go.


Now that you know that Hinduism does not condemn or deny you from getting a tattoo or their religious tattoos, you are better positioned to decide whether or not to go ahead and get one.

In Hinduism, you are not supposed to put tattoos of their gods below your waistline as that is considered a big disrespect to them because the body parts below the waist interact with dirt too often.

Please go through the above content so that it can enlighten you more concerning tattooing in Hinduism and some of the meanings behind the popular tattoos Hindus adorn.

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Michael Blau

Michael Blau

I have been tattooing for over 15 years and have my studio in Brooklyn. While I'll tattoo just about anything on anyone, my specialty is religious tattoos.
I am originally from Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for its large Jewish population. This has given me a lot of experience and understanding when it comes to tattoos and religion.

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