70+ Sacred Hindu Tattoo Ideas – Incredible Designs Packed With Color and Meaning

The Hindu faith, which originated in India, is one of the oldest known religions in the world with some historians believing that people began practicing Hinduism around 500BC. Today it continues to be a major religion and is classed as the 3rd largest worldwide.

Hindu’s believe in many gods, goddesses, and deities and over time this has given rise to incredible imagery. Bright colorful renderings of these multiple gods appear in paintings, sculptures and adorn religious text.

For Hindu’s who love body art (and sometimes even those who don’t practice the faith) these gods and deities make exceptional tattoo subjects rich with meaning.

Those who practice Hinduism are exceptionally devoted to their faith and dedicated to its teachings and instructions. Themes of this religion include duty, hard work, patience and self-restraint to name only a few.


Designs and Their Meanings

Hindu tattoos and their meanings are heavily dependent on the subject matter that is chosen.

Lord Vishnu – This deity is one of the foremost male figures in Hinduism also sometimes known as Naravana or Hari. He is seen as a protector and is most often depicted as having a pale blue skin and four arms and holding objects such as the lotus flower, conch, and discus.

He is a common tattoo subject and a powerful symbol of security.

Lakshmi – Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth and good fortune as well as material and spiritual prosperity. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu and is portrayed in tattoos with four arms often sitting or standing on a large lotus flower.

Kali – Kali is the regarded as the goddess of time, creation, destruction and power. She battles against evil and is seen as a divine protector. Tattoos of her often show standing over her consort Shiva. She is often designed with a blue face and a long, pointed tongue.

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Ganesha – This is one of the most popular and widely worshiped deities in the Hindu culture. He is depicted with the head of an elephant and a human body. He is regarded as the God of new beginnings who can also help remove obstacles.

Those who choose him for their tattoo design may do so to represent a fresh start or as a symbol of good fortune.

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Nandi – Nandi is the bull that Lord Shiva used as his mount. The name means happiness or joy and many believe that his image will bring good fortune and contentment.

He is half-bull and half-man and while this is not the most popular design, full-color renditions of him can look incredible.

Krishna – This is a supreme deity who is believed to be the complete reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is one of the most popular figures among Hindu gods and goddesses. He is portrayed as a young child or man with black or blue skin wearing a yellow dhoti and a peacock feather crown.

His traits include diplomacy, playfulness and fearlessness and Krishna is commonly included in tattoo designs.

Flute and Peacock Feather – Krishna is often seen playing flute and this, together with peacock feather is a popular tattoo that also represents Krishna.

Rama – Rama is a god known for his incredible compassion for others, his bravery and his devotion to his religious duties. He has two arms and a blue body and is sometimes depicted holding a long bow and arrow. He is seen as a symbol of virtue and good governance.

Saraswati – The female goddess Saraswati has four arms and is often shown playing the veena (a plucked string instrument from ancient India), dressed in white and gold. She often sits on top of a swan or a lotus.

For those who love the arts (and tattoo art!), she is a perfect subject as she is regarded as the goddess of learning, music, and art.

Om symbol – This is a sacred word and symbol in Hinduism. It refers to a supreme being, the soul, understanding of the universe and knowledge. The symbol is a commonly requested tattoo, even among non-believers. It is often inked in solid black, red or blue.

Lotus – This flower, which grows out from the mud, is a sacred flower in the Hindu faith and is associated with divine beauty, purity, and enlightenment.

Different color flowers are said to have different meanings, but in tattoos, the popular hues are pink, mauve and light orange.

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Techniques Used for Hindu Style Tattoos

The Old school tattoo style is quite popular for Hindu tattoos – featuring bold outlines and simple colors. Watercolor style, which continues to gain popularity, is also a fantastic choice, especially for representations of the gods.

Black and gray tattoos like this are sometimes lined with white instead of black which gives the tattoo a three-dimensional look, as though it is popping off the skin.

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Colors Used for Hindu-Inspired Tattoos

While some of these types of tattoos do appear in black and gray most people opt for color tattoo designs instead. These hues are usually quite dazzling and largely include colors like bright blue and purple as well as contrasting combinations of electric pink, green, sunflower yellow, and orange.

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Best Areas for Placement

If you want a small Hindu style tattoo you would probably want to go with a lotus or Om symbol. Tattoo designs of the various gods will always look better on a larger scale and most clients choose their upper arms, back, shoulders and chests for their tattoos.

Hindu tattoos on the hands are also becoming more commonplace. These designs will usually include the Om symbol or Ganesha.

In short…

Hindu tattoos are chosen for a variety of reasons. There are those who practice the religion and wish to keep the iconography close to their hearts and showcase their beliefs. Others may not necessarily believe in Hinduism, but still, appreciate the subject matter.

A person would rarely get a Hindu style tattoo simply because they like the design, meaning that those who choose these tattoos are usually quite deep thinkers. And with such incredible gods and symbolism they really do make classic and beautiful tattoos.

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