We know Hanuman is covered with Saffron paste. But why is Ganesha covered with saffron paste. It is not seen in temples in southern part of India but most of the Ganesha's idols in northern part of India and all idols in the Ashta Vinayaka temples are covered with saffron paste. Why is it?

Ganesh in someshwar wadi temple

  • 2
    Saffron does not mean Sindoor ..I think Kumkumam is sindoor..
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 6:29
  • Well @rickross, Kumkuma and sindoor are different. In temples of Hanuman, a pooja is performed to Hanuman and it is called "sindoora pooja". Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 6:38
  • ..Ok............
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 7:47

2 Answers 2


Lord Ganesha loves red.Red is the color associated with him.His body is reddish.He loves wearing red colored clothes.He loves being worshiped with red flowers and also being smeared with red fragrant paste.

Reference is verse no 11 in Ganapaty Atharva Seersha Upanishad:

रक्तं लम्बोदरं शूर्पकर्णकं रक्तवाससम् । रक्तगन्धानुलिप्ताङ्गं रक्तपुष्पैस्सुपूजितम् ॥

11.3: His Form is having a Beautiful Reddish Glow (Raktam), with a Large Belly (Lambodara) and with Large Ears like Fans (Shurpa Karna); He is wearing Red Garments (Rakta Vasam), 11.4: His Form is annointed with Red Fragrant Paste (Rakta Gandha), and He is worshiped with Red Flowers (Rakta Pushpa),

So,i think Ganapaty would love his body being smeared with Rakta Chandana(Red Sandal Paste) or even with Saffron(which is reddish in color)paste.


As explained in this answer, the white colour denotes satvva guna, the red colour denotes the rajo guna.

Ganesha is worshiped in southern parts of India but Sindoor (saffron paste) is not applied. But in North India, many temples are seen with Ganesha idols applied saffron. In Ashta Vinayak temples, all the Ganesha temples are applied Sindoor. Also there is a song praising Vinayak who applies sindoor(shendoor) in Marathi.

The reason behind this is that, all the idols in Ashta Vinayaka temples are self incarnated idols. Ganesha incarnated at those places to slay the asuras. Here Ganesha is worshiped by devotees for attaining bravery because he was furious while slaying different demons. When he kills Ugrekṣaṇa AKA Sindhu AKA Viprasādana in Mayureshwara avatar, the blood is spilled on him. That makes him happy. Here Ganesha shows Rajo guna. Hence Sindoor which signifies the rajo guna is applied to Ganesha idols.

You may notice that Sindoor is applied to Hanuman. It is only when He is worshiped in Veeranjaneya form but not when he is stood before Lord Rama or when worshiped in Prasannanjaneya(happiness) form.

This is the reason that Veerabhadra and Kalbhairava who are very well known members of Shiva gana are depicted saffron or red.

Veerabhadra Kalbhairava in Ujjain temple

1.This is a custom to show the guna of the deity.
2.Sindoor applied to Hanuman has a story but lacks scriptural references. So this version is acceptable

  • There is a lot of difference between a comment and an answer. If you are said that answers without scriptural references should be kept in comments, you ae misguided. Don't listen to them. This is an answer which answers my question of why he is red occasionally. Lord Ganesha is not smeared with red in other places besides Ashta Vinayak. There is a scriptural reference in recent revision. See that. When he kills rakshasa, he feels happy with the blood from Sindu's blood. Reference need not to be quote. It can be anything. If such long answers are posted in comments, they will be deleted. Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 10:14
  • you are right @Sarvabhouma in saying that red color denotes rajo guana. But 2 points wrt your answer--1) Lord Ganesha is not always in rajo guna. (ref. - in the "atharvasheersha", it is said "त्वं गुणत्रायातीत:"). Then why only the red color?. 2) The answer unfortunately lacks any scriptural reference. A song can't be considered as truly authentic unless it is written by a sage or saint. So IMO, it is more like a comment. (no offence intended, but I am trying to bring in more authenticity to maintain quality in answers).
    – Vineet
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 10:15
  • No doubt, your answer is valuable. But IMHO, still I do maintain that scriptural references are necessary for avoiding opinion based answers. As long as long comments deletion is concerned, one can keep it brief.....(secondly, my point no. 1 is still not addressed).
    – Vineet
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 10:18
  • Comment - To be used while asking clarifications. Answer: To answer the question. Am I asking a clarification here? I addressed your point already. He is smeared with red colour to indicate anger. He feels happy and his anger is gone when red sandal is s,eared. I added about Rakshasa reference which is only found in scriptures.I didn't copy paste. I mentioned it. In other places where he is happy, there's no red colour. Check it again. It is not a comment. Comments are not for answers. There are enough references valid on site and present in the answer along with scripture. Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 10:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .