Hindu Gods and Goddesses: Quick Guide to Key Deities

As part of one of the world’s oldest religions, Hindu gods and goddesses have taken many forms. While some Hindus practice Brahman, or the supreme creator, Hinduism can be polytheistic with many gods and goddesses. Explore the six main gods and goddesses that are part of the trinity and tridevi along with other important Hindu gods and goddesses.

Hindu goddess Durga Hindu goddess Durga

Trinity and Tridevi Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Have you ever wondered how many Hindu gods are there? Well, there are a lot of them. In fact, there are about 33 million of them. While this might seem like a lot of different Hindu gods and goddesses, when you consider that each of them has a specific part to play in the circle of life, it makes a lot of sense. Explore the three main gods and goddesses known as the Hindu trinity and tridevi.

Brahma: The Creator

Brahma, also known as Prajapati, is considered one of the core trinity gods along with Vishnu and Shiva. As a god, he was born of the golden egg and created all things, including gods and men. Hence the reason he is called the creator. However, while Brahma is the founder of the universe, he is found more in scriptures than in temples dedicated to him.

hindu god brahma

Saraswati: Linked to Brahma

Often called the wife of Brahma, Saraswati is the female counterpart of Brahma. Also called Sharada, Saraswati is a goddess of art, wisdom, knowledge, and learning. Much like her name, which means elegant and flowing, Saraswati is considered the creator of Sanskrit and the arts patron.

hindu goddess Saraswati playing musical instrument

Vishnu: The Preserver

While Brahma is responsible for the creation, Vishnu, also known as Narayan, is responsible for preserving the world and restoring the balance between good and evil. One of the most famous Hindu gods, Vishnu has nine incarnations (avatars) with a tenth one predicted at the end of the world.

hindu god Vishnu in Jodhpur India painting

Lakshmi: Linked to Vishnu

The female counterpart of Vishnu and his wife, Lakshmi, is the goddess of fertility, purity, wealth, glory, and honor. Much like Vishnu, Lakshmi has reincarnations on Earth. She is beautiful in recreations with two of her four arms raised to bless others.

Hindu goddess Lakshmi

Shiva: The Destroyer

Brahma and Vishnu create and maintain, but Shiva protects and destroys as necessary. Shiva is one of the most complex gods of the holy trinity, given his representation as man’s protector and the darker spirits leader. A guardian god, Shiva resides on Earth and is the destroyer of the universe. Representations of Shiva typically show him in a meditative state.

hindu god shiva statue at sunrise

Parvati: Linked to Shiva

Much like her husband, Shiva, Parvati is a benevolent goddess linked to harmony, power, love, beauty, renewal, and devotion. Also known as Uma, Parvati can take on alternative forms depending on her emotions.

hindu god Shiva with Parvati and infant Ganesh

Important Hindu Gods

While the trinity gods are the most well known, they also take on other forms or incarnations. You can also find other important gods dedicated to the elements. Explore a few famous Hindu gods.

  • Agni - god of fire; divine messenger
  • Ganesha - god of new beginnings; remover of obstacles; son of Parvati and Shiva; elephant head
  • Hanuman - companion of Rama; an incarnation of Vishnu; half-human and monkey; god of wind
  • Indra - cunning god of rain and thunder; considered the king of heaven
  • Kartikeya (Kumara) - god of war; son of Parvati and Shiva
  • Krishna - the eighth incarnation of Vishnu; mentally advanced man
  • Rama (Ramacandra) - the seventh avatar of Vishnu; warrior
  • Surya (Aditya) - god of the sun; bringer of light and warmth
statue of Hindu god Ganesha

Important Hindu Goddesses

Just as there are other important gods, other important Hindu goddesses also take center stage in this religion. Explore some important goddesses of the Hindu religion.

  • Bhumi (Prithvi) - mother of Earth
  • Durga (Devi and Shakti) - supreme being and mother of all creations; an incarnation of Parvati
  • Ganga - sister of Parvati; represents cleansing and mercy; goddess of river Granges
  • Gayatri (Savitri) - a form of Saraswati; life-giving goddess
  • Kali (Kalika or Shyama) - goddess of death, time and the end of time; an incarnation of Parvati
  • Kamadhenu (Surabhi) - mother of all cows; sacred cow
  • Radha (Radhika) - consort of Krishna; goddess of love, compassion and devotion
  • Sita (Janaki) - an incarnation of Lakshmi; wife of Rama; represents ideal wife and daughter
hindu goddess Kali of death and time

Learning Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Hindi religion has a long history, which includes the philosophical writings of Master Shankara. Keep your knowledge of the Hindu religion going through various Hindu quotes. You might also find information on Madhva, the founder of the Madhvism sect of Hinduism, interesting.