Every time dharma is threatened Vishnu mounts his eagle, the mighty Garuda, and comes to earth ready to battle. The descents of Vishnu from Vaikuntha to earth are his avatars or incarnations. The form of each descent is different because the demands of the world each time are different. The most recognised avatars are:

  • MATSYA  – Fish that rescues
  • KURMA – Turtle that supports the churn to obtain treasures dissolved in the ocean of milk
  • VARAHA – Boar that raises the earth from the bottom of the sea
  • NARASIMHA – Man-Lion who defies classification and overpowers mortals who seek to outwit death
  • VAMANA – Dwarf who claims the sky for the Devas and shoves the Asuras below the surface of the earth
  • PARASHURAMA – Priest who turns to violence to kill unrighteous kings and unchaste woman
  • RAMA – King who upholds old rules at the cost of personal life
  • KRISHNA – Cowherd, charioteer, statesman who shrewdly changes rules
  • BUDDHA – Teacher who propagates monasticism
  • KALKI – Revolutionary who dismantles the world

Inspired by Dr.Devdutt Pattanaik: Myth =Mythya, Decoding Hindu Mythology.

Photo:  Zuzana Zwiebel – Andra Pradesh, Tirumala – Venkateshwara Temple

ART OF TRAVEL: www.shaktitrails.com


  1. Vishnu has innumerable avatars according to Hindu Units of time which extends from yuga to mahayuga to Manavantara to Kalpa. The ten avatars are probably a compilation of most recognized ones.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s