Shiva is not only the ascetic, the divine hermit, who meditates seated upon the Himalayas. He is also a family man, residing in Kailash, enjoying his marital bliss. Here he is with his consort Parvati and their two children Ganesha & Karttikeya.
Shiva, dressed in an animal skin lion cloth is juxtaposed with a majestically dressed Parvati. To compare with his consort's magnificent crown, he wears the crescent moon, as the stream of Ganga falls from his knotted hair. A coiled serpent around his neck is comparable to the ostentatious necklaces worn by Parvati: Shiva holds a weapon (trishula) in his hand, as Parvati holds a padma (lotus). The differences may be stark, but so are similarities. Both hold one child each on their lap. Ganesha sits authoritatively on Shiva's lap and Karttikeya finds a place of pride in his mother's. Nandi, Shiva's bull sits next to him and Parvati's vahana, the lion sits by her side.
The Shivalingam - Shiva's aniconic form, is placed in the middle, which adds to the auspiciousness of this magnificent family image.
This description by Kiranjyot.
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