Idols have to be instated in temples. Vishnu‘s image should have either eight hands or four. If there are eight hands, the arms to the right should hold a shankha (concha-shell), a gada (mace), a shara (arrow) and a padma (lotus). The arms to the left should hold dhanu (bow), a padma, a shankha and a chakra (bladed-discus). If there are four hands, the mace and the lotus should be to the right and the chakra and the conch-shell to the left. Vishnu will be shown standing on the world. Garuda, the king of the birds, bears him around Garuda will therefore be shown at Vishnu‘s feet, towards the right. Lakshmi‘s image must always be to the left of Vishnu‘s image and Lakshmi will hold a lotus in her hand. The best idols are made out of gold, silver, copper, jewels, stone, wood, from alloys. The proportions of the various parts of the body must be exactly right. Shiva‘s image must have matted hair and he must wear a crescent moon on his forehead. The idol must convey the impression that Shiva is sixteen years old. Shiva must be dressed in tigerskin and must be garlanded with snakes. A peacock feather should adorn on ear. If a spear, a rod or a trident are shown, they must be to the right. And if a skull, a snake or a sword are shown, they must be to the left. When Shiva is show riding a bull, his image has two hands. But when he is shown in a dancing posture, the image has ten hands. If the intention is to show him destroying Tripura, the image must have sixteen hands. There is one particular image that deserves special mention. This is known as arddhanarishvara, half-male and half-female. The Shiva part of the image will be to the right and the Parvati part of the image will be to the

left. The right hand of the image will hold a skull or a trident and the left hand of the image will hold a lotus or a mirror. There is another type of image known as Uma-Maheshvara. In this case, there are two separate images, one of Shiva and the other of Parvati. The idols of various other gods and goddesses are also described.

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