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Story of Bhairava and Demon Nila


Legend has it that Demon Nila once took the form of a wild elephant and started harassing the people of Kashi. He destroyed the crops of the people and ran amuck the fields. Shiva then ordered his doorkeeper, Bhairava to save the city from Nila. The story of Bhairava and demon Nila begins here.

Bhairava attacked Nila who had taken the form of a fierce elephant. He cut the trunk of the elephant and damaged his legs and trunk.

When Bhairava was about to slay the elephant, he asked that his skin should serve as Shiva’s mantle. Bhairava promised that his wish will be fulfilled.

Kangra Painting of Shiva and Goddess Parvati 1790 AD

Thus Shiva is depicted sometimes as wearing elephant hide.

There are numerous stories regarding Shiva wearing elephant skin garment. The stories vary from region to region.

In some scriptures, it is Shiva who himself kills the elephant and then wears the skin as garment.

Bhairava is the guardian deity in almost all Mother Goddess Shakti temples.

He guards the village and the main temple.