How will the Kalki avatar look like, appearance-wise? I have heard he'll have a sword and ride atop a horse. Is it true?
Lord Kalki will receive a horse, a sword and and an all knowing parrot (Suka) from Lord Shiva. His physical appearance is described by his wife Padmavati, Demi Gods and others too.. This is described very nicely in Kalki Purana...
Lord Kalki after his sacred thread ceremony goes to Lord Parashuram to attain trainings in military arts. It is in chapter 3 of Kalki Purana:
daksinam prarthaya vibho
ya deya tava sanmdhau
yayd me sarva siddhhsyad
ya syat tvattosa kdnni
Lord Kalki said: О my Lord, please tell me what kind of daksina I
should give You so that You will be pleased, > and I will thus be able to
achieve complete perfection in life.
brahmana prdrthito bhumana
kali nigraha karanat
visnuh sarvasrayah pumah
sa jdtah sambhale bhavan
Parasurama said: О great soul! Long ago, Brahma prayed to Lord
Visnu, the shelter of all living entities and the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, to destroy the influence of Kali. I understand that You are that
same Supreme Personality, appearing in the village of Sambhala.
matto vidyam swadastiam
labdhva vedamayam sukam
simhale ca priyam padmam
You have learned the art of discharging arrows from Me. You will
imbibe transcendental knowledge from Sukadeva Gosvami, and You will
be awarded a powerful weapon by Lord Siva. Thereafter, You will marry
a woman named Padma from the island of Simhala. Your mission is to re
Then by following the words of Lord Parashurama, Lord Kalki does penance of Lord Shiva and finally praises with hymns. Those hymns will be very popular in next Satya yuga. It is also in chapter 3 :
iti kalkistavam srutia
suvah sarvatma darsanah
saksdt prdha isannisah
After hearing these prayers, Lord Siva, being omniscient, appeared
before Lord Kalki with Parvati and spoke to Him while smiling grandly.
kalkeh samsprsya hastena
samasta vayavam muda
tamdha varaya prestha
varam yatte'bhi kdmksitam
Lord Siva caressed the entire body of Lord Kalki with his hands and
then said: О foremost of all beings, please ask from me the benediction
waya krtamidam. stotram
ye pathanti jana bhuvi
tesdm sarvartha siddhhsya
adiha loke paratra ca
Anyone on this earth who faithfully hears the glorious prayers that
you have offered me will achieve all kinds of > perfection, both in this life
and in the next.
vidydrthim capnuydd vidydm
dharmdrthim dharmam apruyat
kamdn avapnuyat kdnx'
If a student recites these prayers, his education will become fruitful,
if a pious person recites these prayers, he will attain pious merit, and
if a sense enjoyer recites these prayers, he will enjoy all kinds of sense
gratification. Anyone who recites or hears these prayers will have all his
warn garudam ida casvam
maya dattam grhana bhoh
This horse was manifested from Garuda, and it can go anywhere at
will and assume many different forms. Here > also is a parrot that knows everything—past, present, and future. I would like to offer You both the
horse and the parrot and so please accept them.
warn vadisyanti manavah
By the influence of this horse and parrot, the people of the world will
know You as a learned scholar of all scriptures who is a master of the art
of releasing arrows, and thus the conqueror > of all.
ratnat sarum kardlanca
prthwya bhdra sadhanam
I would also like to present You this sharp, strong sword and so please
accept it. The handle of this sword is bedecked with jewels, and it is
extremely powerful. As such, this sword will help You to reduce the heavy
burden of the earth.
m vaca dsrutya
sambhala grama gamat
After hearing all this, Lord Kalki offered His obeisances and then
departed for the village of Sambhala, riding on the back of the horse
given by Lord Siva.
pitaram mataram bhratan
sarvam tadvarnayd masa
Upon arriving home, Lord Kalki offered his respectful obeisances
to His father, mother, and brothers. He then narrated whatever had
happened and told them about the orders of His guru, Paras'urama.
Then that all knowing parrot goes to island of Simhala and tells about Lord Kalki to Padmavati. When Padmavati see Lord Kalki she describes Lord Kalki as (in chapter 9):
sukhe bауапаt mamvedika gatam
kalkim purastad atisurya varcasam
mahamani biаса vibhusana atam
sukena sarddham tamudaiksa tesam
There, Padmavati saw her beloved Lord Kalki peacefully sleeping on
a raised platform that was decorated with jewels The effulgence of His
body defeated the brilliance of the sun His entire body was decorated
with varieties of precious jewels.
tamala nilam kamalapatim prabhum
pitambaram caru saroja locanam
ajanu bahum prthupina laksasam
sri vatsasat kaustubha kantirajitam
The complexion of the Lord of Laksmi was dark, like a tamala tree,
and He was dressed in yellow garments He had lotus-like eyes, His arms
reached to His knees, and His chest was very broad and displayed the
mark of Srivatsa and Kaustubha gem
tadadbhutam rupam aveksya padma
samstambhita usmrta satknartha
suptam tu sambodhayitum pranttam
nibarayamasa usankita sa
kadati eso nah talo tirupi
maddarsanat stritiam upaiti saksat
tadatra kim me bhanta bhaiasva
i arena sapa piatimena lole
Upon seeing the transcendental form of the Lord, Padmavati became
stunned and fearful Indeed, she became so overwhelmed with emotion
that she forgot to greet her Lord When Suka attempted to awaken the
Lord, she forbade him, saying If this greatly attractive hero looks at
me and is transformed into a woman, then what will be the use of the
benediction that I had received from Lord Siva.
Truthfully, I consider
Lord Siva's benediction to be a curse. [[Padmavati was formerly blessed by Lord Shiva that whoever would see her through lust he will immediately turn into women]]
Lord Kalki's physical apperance is also briefly described in chapter 10, Marriage of Lord Kalki and Padmavati..
bahihsphutau mla pita
Padmavati's complexion was very fair and Lord Kalki's complexion
was dark, like a rain cloud. In this way, they appeared to materialistic
vision to be opposite one another. Princess > Padmavati was dressed in blue
garments, and Lord Kalki was dressed in yellow garments.
Also in the chapter 33 demigods appear to earth and praise Lord Kalki as::
The Demigods Arrive at Sambhala
The Disappearance of Lord Kalki
tato devagandh sarve
brahmand sahitd rathaih
svaih svair ganaih parivrtak
kalkirh drastm updyayuh
Suta GosvamI said: Once, all the demigods and great brahmanas,
along with their followers, mounted their celestial chariots and went to
the village of Sambhala, to see Lord Kalki.
Many exalted sages, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and Apsaras cheerfully
arrived at Sambhala, which was highly desired even by the demigods.
tatra gawd sabhd madhye
As they entered the palace courtyard, they saw the greatly effulgent
lotus-eyed Lord Kalki giving assurances to all those who had come to take
shelter of Him.
digha pivara bhdhukam
sthiravidyun nibhena tarn
His transcendental body was the color of a dark rain cloud. His
arms were long and very powerful. His head > was adorned with a brightly
shining crown that resembled the sun.
sobhamanarh dyu manina
vadanam smita sobhitam
The beauty of His face was enhanced by His earrings, which were as
brilliant as the sun. His lotus-like face appeared to blossom as He sweetly
smiled while speaking.
tara hdrollasad vaksas
Everyone surrounding Him was favored by His merciful glance. Lotus
flowers adorning His chest appeared more delightful because of the rays
of the moonstone that shone in His beautiful necklace. His garments
appeared like a rainbow, thus further increasing his beauty.
dipitarh rupam adbhutam
dadrsur deva gandharvdm
ye cdnye samupdgatdh
His entire body shone brilliantly due to the light reflected from
countless jewels. This is how all the demigods, Gandharvas, and Apsaras
saw Lord Kalki.