What Does a Tattoo Mean in Hinduism?

Mehndi. Portrait of beautiful indian girl in saree

Table of Contents

What does a tattoo mean in Hinduism? Tattoos in Hinduism are used to represent their faith. They tell the connection between individuals and gods. There are many tattoo symbols in Hinduism, each of which has a different meaning. 

Hinduism is one religion that allows tattoos amongst their followers, and they are used both in religious and cultural functions; thus, tattoos are part and parcel of Hindus.

Below, we will discuss some common Hindu tattoo symbols and their meaning. 

Let’s dive in!

Hindu Tattoo Symbols And Their Meanings

Hinduism is an ancient religion on earth known to have many tattoo symbols. However, these tattoo symbols are part of Hinduism. Below, let’s check some of the famous Hindu tattoo symbols and their meaning.

1. The Vishnu Tattoo

This is one of the important tattoos in Hinduism, as it symbolizes mercy and goodness. Vishnu is tattooed as a man holding a conch shell, the discus, the Lotus, and the Club. Vishnu is the rescuer, savior, and preserver of the universe.  

The Vishnu tattoo symbolizes the stages of life, like birth, life, and death. Anyone wearing the Vishnu tattoo is said to be a compassionate being who values life.

2. The Ganesh Tattoo

Ganesh is said to be the Lord of beginnings in the Hindu religion. He is usually called upon at the beginning of every ceremony. Flowers like lotus and birds symbolize new beginnings like fresh growth and the coming of spring. 

Hence, if you see a Ganesh tattoo, you will see a flower surrounding it, specifically the lotus flower.

3. The Shiva Tattoo

Shiva is known as a destroyer because he will destroy the universe to save many souls from the pain caused by evil. He is one of the projections of the absolute, and he is said to be the good one among the three.

In a tattoo drawing, Shiva is portrayed as smiling and relaxing. He is also portrayed with a black throat and a third eye. You may also notice matted hair, two to four arms, and a trident on the one hand. You will also see him sitting in a yoga pose. 

4. The Rama Tattoo

The Rama tattoo is portrayed in a blue tone with a headdress, arrow, and bow. The Rama tattoo expresses devotion to Hinduism, and he represents both the Gods and the humans. Rama tattoo is also said to represent the pursuit of an entire life. 

In Indian traditions, Rama is said to have characteristics of both God and humans.

5. The Saraswati Tattoo

The Saraswati tattoo symbolizes arts, music, and learning, and that’s why many artists today wear this tattoo. The Saraswati tattoo portrays a four-armed woman sitting on a swan or lotus.

6. The Nandi Tattoo

Nandi was a bull and Shiva mount, representing power, strength, and virility. However, his representation changed when he became arrogant to Shiva. Lord Shiva got angry and locked his hair on the bull’s back. The act weighed him down, and he apologized to Lord Shiva.  

Nandi now represents surrendering to the divine; hence someone may decide to get the Nandi tattoo as a reminder of humility. 

7. The Kali Tattoo

Kali means time and symbolizes death and destruction. No matter how you try to escape death, it will eventually catch up on you. The Kali tattoo portrays someone trying to invoke the power of feeling no fear. 

She is portrayed as a blue being with four arms, holding a demon’s head and a blade. You might also see her holding a pitchfork, baby heads dangling from her belt. 

Is Tattoo a Sin in Hinduism?

Is tattooing a sin in Hinduism? Wearing a tattoo is not a sin in Hinduism nor restricted. Hinduism is the oldest religion on earth and is believed to be the source of many tattoo symbols. In ancient days, Hindu women were prohibited from speaking their husbands’ names.

Thus, they used to tattoo their husbands’ names on their forearms to communicate their husbands’ names to other people. The only tattoo restricted is the one that disrespects the Hindu gods. 

However, if you are to draw a tattoo representing the Hindu gods, you are not supposed to draw it on your feet, legs, or posterior. 

Final Thoughts

From the above article, it is clear that Hindu tattoo symbols are an essential part of the Hinduism religion. If you plan to have a Hindu tattoo, above are some Hindu tattoo symbols and their meaning. 

Also, each Hindu tattoo symbol is used on different occasions; for instance, the Ganesh symbol symbolizes new beginnings, like the start of new growth. Finally, the Saraswati tattoo symbol is used to portray art or music.  Before getting a tattoo, it’s good to know its meaning.

More Of The Same Category​

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.

About Me

Recent Posts

40 Small Religious Tattoos For Men