Incarnations of Lord Shiva

Incarnations of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is a prominent Hindu deity, and one aspect of Trimurti lord Vishnu and Bhrama. Several incarnations of Lord Shiva appeared from time to time for the restoration of peace and the triumph of truth in the world. There are various other incarnations of Lord Shiva including Shveta, Sutara, Madana, Suhotra, Kankana, Lokaksi, Jaigisavya, Dadivaha, Rishabha, Bhrgu, Ugra, Atri, Bali, Gautama, Vedashiras, Gokarna, Shikandaka, Jatamali, Attahasa, Daruka, Langali, Mahayama, Muni, Suli, Pindamunishvara, Sahishnu, Somashara and Nakulishvara.
But basically there are few incarnations of Lord Shiva which are very well known to puranas as :

Allama Prabhu,
Tripurantaka Murti
Kalara Murti
Uma Maheshvara Murti
Sri Hanuman

Lord Shiva is the Supreme God of Hindus who is mainly worshipped in its abstract form of Shiva Linga. Lord Shiva is usually represented as immersed in high meditation or dancing the Tandava upon the demon Maya. The various incarnations of Lord Shiva appeared in the world for good.


Lord Shiva incarnated as Bhairava represented with a third eye, long teeth and hair of flames wearing a garland of skulls holding a snake and trident in his left arm and a noose and a cup in his right arm. In this incarnation lord Shiva is seen standing with his vehicle, a dog, behind him. The deity Bhairava has several other forms in which he is represented having five heads and ten arms. In the avatar of Bhairava lord Shiva worked as a door guardian and he is also known as Kshetrapala while Mahakala worked as a faith guardian or dharmapala.

Allama Prabhu:

In the incarnation of Allama Prabhu Lord Shiva was among the Vira Shaiva, a less popular incarnation. Lord Shiva in this incarnation he was believed to be a Brahmin who acted very closely with the elder Basava either as a primary leader. And later Allama Prabhu became Basava’s spiritual adviser. Allama Prabhu was involved in the revolution at Kalyanapuri in which the Bijala raja was slain and a new religion was established.


Lord Shiva in the incarnation of Khandoba is seen with the elements such as a sword, drum, trident and bowl. The vehicle of Khandoba is a horse and he may be seen associated with a dog. According to the legends, the God made himself known to a number of cowherds who were resting in a field but went away again when one of his most pious worshippers approached. Thus, the devotee was disappointed very much and the elders of the village became suspicious about the significance of a Linga that was found on the spot where Khandoba appeared.

Gajasura Murti:

Lord Shiva as Gajasura- Murti is depicted as dancing on the head of an elephant demon when this demon was interrupting the rituals of a number of Brahmans who were worshipping Lord Shiva’s lingam. Then Shiva stepped forward from the lingam, chopped off the demon`s head, and wrapped his skin around him like a cloak.

Tripurantaka Murti:

In this Tripurankanta Murti incarnation Lord Shiva destroyed the three cities of the Asuras when they had gained much power.

Kalara Murti:

Lord Shiva incarnated in Kalara Murti when Yama interrupts Markandeya when he was worshipping Shiva lingam and Shiva becomes enraged at this interruption and he leaps forth from the lingam to resist Yama and granted Markandeya eternal life. This aspect of Shiva has been illustrated as Kalari-Murti.

Uma Maheshvara Murti:

Lord Shiva incarnated in female as Goddess Parvati. She is always depicted with him, either standing next to him, or sitting on his knee while the god embraces her. In unity they symbolize twofold nature of the one complete.


According to some Puranas, Lord Shiva took the form of Sharabha to pacify and control the Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu. If Lord Shiva appeared as Sharaba who was part human, part animal and part bird with numerous claws and legs. Sharabha manifestation of Lord Shiva is not very popular. Lord Narasimha’s when terrifying rage could not be dissipated even after He had slain the Demon King Hiranyakashipu. A more ferocious form of Sharabha was able to pacify Narasimha Vishnu. Soon Vishnu appeared in the pleasant form before his devotees.

Sri Hanuman:

Sri Hanuman is considered to be the eleventh incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is a celibate god who is symbolic of strength, divinity, courage, knowledge and devotion.