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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.

Thus Shiva is depicted sometimes as wearing elephant hide.