Avatars Of Lord Shiva
Avatar simply means the appearance or incarnation of God/Goddess on earth. While some of the scriptures say there were 19 Avatars of Lord Shiva, some say there were 24 Avatars, and Linga Purana specifically mentions that Lord Shiva had 28 Avatars.
Each avatar of Lord Shiva is worshipped with different rituals and with different pooja ingredients.
Different Avatars Lord Shiva -
- Nandi Avatar
Lord Shiva was born in the Nandi Avatar to sage Shilada. It is said that Shilada performed a tough penance for an immortal child. Pleased by Shilada’s devotion, Lord Shiva took birth as Nandi - the bull. Nandi then became Lord Shiva’s mount & the Divine Gate Keeper of Kailash.
- Veerabhadra Avatar
It is evident from the Hindu scriptures that the Veerabhadra avatar of Lord Shiva is the fiercest one. It is said that Lord Shiva incarnated as Veerabhadra after his wife Goddess Sati jumped into the holy pyre, unable to bear the insult of her husband at the hands of her father - King Daksh, and died. In the Veerabhadra form, Lord Shiva destroyed King Daksh’s yagna and beheaded him, holding him responsible for His Wife’s death.
- Ashwatthama Avatar
It is said that Guru Dronacharya performed a tough penance to please Lord Shiva, as he wanted the Lord to be born as his son. Pleased with the intense penance by Guru Dronacharya, Lord Shiva incarnated as Aswatthama - one of the ablest warriors. Ashwatthama played a pivotal role in Mahabharata, due to his warriorship skills.
While these are some of the avatars that are popularly known, there are many more avatars of Lord Shiva through which he incarnated back on earth and with each of his avatars, emerged an even more interesting story!