--> Skip to main content

Panchamukha Shivalinga – Hindu God Shiva with Five Faces

Panchanana Shiva is Hindu God Shiva with five faces. Panchanana is also referred as the five emanations of Shiva. Siva appears in this form in the Panchamukha Shivling found in very rare temples. Four faces are in four directions and in some Shivalingams the fifth face is shown facing the sky and in some it is the southeast direction. The five faces are known as Ishana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojatha.

Ishana faces south east or faces sky or zenith. It is the highest aspect and represents Shiva as Ishwara. In this aspect he is also known as Sadashiva, or the Eternal Siva. Symbolically, it represents Shiva ruling over the sky. Spiritually, this aspect of Shiva grants liberation or Moksha.

Tatpurusha faces the east. This form of Shiva controls the air. On the spiritual sphere this aspect of Shiva helps in removing ego, darkness and obscurity.

Aghora faces the south and represents the destructive and regenerative aspect of Shiva which first absorbs all life and then renovates the universe by creating things afresh.

Vamadeva faces north. Shiva is healer and represents water. In this form he is the preserver.

Sadyojata faces west and represents the creative power of Shiva.

Shiva Panchanana Stotram

An important prayer (Stotra) dedicated to Panchanana Shiva is the Shiva Panchanana Stotram. It explains about the glory of the each face of Lord Shiva in the Panchamukha Shivalinga.
As per the prayer, the four faces of Shiva faces four directions and the fifth faces the sky. 

Panchamukha Shivalinga Temple

Some of the important Panchanana Shiva temples are found in eastern parts of India like the one at Baronagar near Behrampore in West Bengal and Akhandalamani Shiva Temple in Bhubaneswar in Orissa.

The most famous five-faced Shivling is the one worshipped at the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal.

Today there are also temples that have nine-faced Shivling - on the first level four face; another four face on the second level and the top portion being the ninth face.