Do the idols of gods and goddesses worshipped in temples be of same colour as depicted in scriptures?

  • There are already questions about the depiction of Rama and their original colour. You are recommended to search questions before you post questions. Depiction of Rama and Krishna and about Linga, related question Why is Shiva primarily worshipped in a linga form? There are multiple questions in the question now. You should only ask one question per post. Please edit out already asked question and move the extra question to a new post. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 5:19
  • Lord Shiva is actually linga... The jyoti linga is Shiva.... Who is seated in meditation in Kailash is Rudra - one among Tridev! Shiva doesnt have a particular form. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 5:19
  • @NogShine see the question now.
    – user16895
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 5:23
  • @AkshayS near my home I saw even Shiva idol not Lingam.
    – user16895
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 5:24
  • @MohMur That might be Rudra. Actually Shiva is unmanifest! Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


We get different rules of making idols in our scriptures:

According to Srimadbhadgavatam(11/27/12), idols can be mede of stone,wood,iron, sand, painted or covered by sindoors(लेप्या),gems and mind(मनोमयी). The Hayashirshapancharatravachana mentions the list of materials as Soil,wood,iron,gem,stone,flowers and smell( गन्धजा).The Mahakapilapancharatravachana quoted by Ragavabhatta's list of materials comprises of stone,iron,gem,wood and soil.(Reference: Shastramulak Bharatiya Shaktisadhana, Upendrakumar Das,Vol 2,page 944).

It is quite obvious that all the above materials can not be painted as per the colours mentioned in the scriptures. There is a practical side as well.Today we are used to even white idols of Sri Krishna, but earlier it was made only black.According to the dhyana manra it should be dark cloudlike blue. Gold or Silver idols are generally not coloured except drawing of eyes and lips etc. Maintaining the colours oft times is difficult as layers after layers can make the idol look blunt as it happens in many cases with layers of sindoors.

But most of the dhyanamantras of the deities describe the complexion very very clearly. For exampe, Devi Durga's dhyanamantra says Her complexion is like hot gold, Lord Krishna's dhyana says His complexion is like dark clouds, Devi Saraswati's dhyanamantra says His complexion is like Moon or Ice, Devi Radhika's dhyanamantra says Her complexion to be goldlike and so on.

By the way at least in Bengal I found very very few idols are made as per the dhyanamantra even if I dont count the colour. Not a single image of Devi Durga I have seen being worshipped during the Durga Puja that follows the various aspects of the dhyanamantra properly. I find this very unwanted..

  • Is it breaking of rule if we make deities colors as different than what is described?
    – user16895
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 9:13
  • @MohMur yes as close as possible to dhyanamantra shd be made
    – user17294
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 10:14
  • Thanks parth, is it ok to add dhyanamantra for some shiva & vishnu & devi deity if it is allowed a/c to rules of scripture to write openly. And i will wait for other's answers as well.
    – user16895
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:46
  • @MohMur dhyanamantras that i have are in bengali scripts and so would not be understood by most:)
    – user17294
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:49

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