We know that the complexion of Lord Vishnu / Krishna is dark (shyam varna) but what is the complexion of Lord Shiva, dark or white?

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    Shiva is very fair in color. – user1195 Oct 11 '15 at 15:25
  • @moonstar2001 isn't it blue? Also I heard there is a difference between Shiva and * Shankar*. Probably Shiva might be colorless. – iammilind Oct 12 '15 at 0:47
  • @iammilind It is not blue. Shiva/Shankar etc. is very fair in complexion with copper-colored hair. Some pictures depict him as blue perhaps to signify the ashes he smears on his body. The deity who is Parvati's husband goes by many names. Both Shiva and Shankar are the same. – user1195 Oct 12 '15 at 5:04
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    @iammilind, Shiva, Shankar, Maheshwar and Sadashiv are names of same God, i.e Lord Shiva, just like Rama and Vishnu are other aspects/names of Krishna. Lord Shiva has two forms, Nishakal(formless) and Sakal(with form). Formless is called Sadashiv(infinite cosmic fire of light), from him, Maheshwar(another Nishakal, the shivling is born, i.e husband of Adi Shakti) is born and from him Prakriti is born and from Adi Shakti, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra/Shankar are born. Reference Linga Puran en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Parashakti en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linga_Purana – user3870 Oct 12 '15 at 12:55
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    @iammilind That supreme lord is Sadasiva. – user1195 Oct 12 '15 at 17:34

Lord Shiva's Complexion was described in Chapter Four (Cancula's Salvation) of Shiva Purana Mahatyam in Shiva Puranam. You can see that from here.(Page 18)

  1. She saw the three-eyed Mahadeva, the eternal, being served devotedly by Brahma,Vishnu and other gods.

  2. He had the brilliance of ten million suns and was reverently served by Ganesha, Bhrngi, Nandisa, Virabhadreshwara and others.

  3. His neck had a blue hue ; he had five faces, three eyes , the cresent moon as crest-ornament and his left hand was apportioned to Gauri , who had the brilliance of lighting.

  4. He was white in complexion like camphor and wore all ornaments. Besmeared with white ashes all over the body and clad in white clothes,he shone brilliantly.

  5. The woman Cancula became highly delighted on seeing Shankara.In her flutter of delight she bowed again and again to Him.


The complexion of Shiva is white. He is described as Karpura Gauram- white like camphor. But, the complexion of Maha-Kala and Kala Bhairava is Black, as they represent time and annihilation.

This may be of interest to you- http://pratyasha.deviantart.com/journal/Shiva-is-not-Blue-but-White-371562557


One of the common "śloka" chanted right after "Aarti" and It is found in Yajurveda, one of the four canonical texts of Hinduism is below one, in Praise of Lord Shiva

कर्पूर गौरम करूणावतारम संसार सारम भुजगेन्द्र हारम | सदा वसंतम हृदयारविंदे भवम भवानी सहितं नमामि ||

The first word in above sloka, describe the complexion of Lord Shiva.

कर्पूरगौरं (karpūragauraṁ): The one who is as pure/white as a camphor(karpur)


we are human being and always like to see god in same form as human being. shankar portrait as human being but shiva is in form of shiv liga, which represent universe or shape of universe or shape of energy, and major part of universe is emptiness. and this emptiness is black in color.

worship of shiva is worship of emptiness or align with universe or harmonize with existence.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! You should cite sources. – The Destroyer May 31 '17 at 10:47

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