Krishna Iconography

Lord Krishna is a deity who has a high place in everyone’s heart and is a youth icon and heartthrob of many. Krishna has been the center of attraction in various performing arts and traditional dance forms in India.

One can identify the form of Krishna by his grace and his captivating pleasant face. He is usually depicted as wearing a yellow color silk dhoti with a peacock feather on his crown and playing a flute.

Usually portrayed with a dark complexion, in mythological representations, he is also represented in blue skin in certain artistic images. He stands with his one leg crossed over the other in a relaxed pose, with a flute on his lips and accompanied by gopis and holy cows.

Krishna IconographyIn temples, he is sometimes represented alone in a formal pose. In some places, we see lord Krishna with his associates, his brother Balarama and his sister, Subhadra. In certain places like in Manipur, Krishna is worshiped along with his sweetheart Radha. Radha Krishna is the name allotted for this form.

Krishna is also depicted as a small child playing or dancing, often with butter in his hand. He was known as makkhan chor among gopis in his childhood for he always stole butter from the house of gopis. The gopis used to churn butter from curd for their livelihood and also used to feed it to their beloved Krishna out of love for him.

Krishna in adulthood plays an important role in the Kurukshetra war. The Bhagawad Gita truly depicts the form were he addresses Arjuna in the battlefield. In this, he is shown with god like appearance with multiple arms denoting power, and also as an incarnation of Vishnu, with chakra as weapon.

Sri Krishna appears in various avatars owing to different periods. It is said that Sri Rama took rebirth as Sri Krishna in his Yuga. Likewise, there are other iconic forms of lord Krishna like Vishnu avatar, Jaganatha in Orissa, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan. Krishnaism considers lord Krishna to be a supreme being and an independent deity in his own right.