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Last modified: 2013-11-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: flag | religion | hinduism | nepal | swastika | gratitude flags | om |
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[Hindu flag] image located by Ron Lahav

See also:

Saffron Flag

A US flag manufacturer has a web site which purports to show the Hindu Flag, and other presumably Hindu religious flags, religious logos, and the flag of the Maratha Empire, one of the major pre-colonial Indian states. It can be seen at
Ron Lahav, 27 November 2008

I heard something in a TV report (made by Finnish TV YLE in Nepal) about flags of Hindu gods. This one (we only saw the flag pole, I could not see the flag itself) was raised to commemorate the visit of a God in disguise, who is told to have come down on a Nepalese valley to steal flowers and bring them back as a gift to his mother, then was captured by village people, etc. The point is that nowadays, Nepalese people use such flags in their major celebrations, and this does not seem to be mere decorative banners. One flag is associated with one God. Does anybody know more about this?
Thanh-Tâm Lê, 15 October 1998

The bitriangular Flags of Hindu Gods are named dhvajas. Some descriptions are contained in the Hindu Epic literature (Mahabharata and Ramayana). Today we can see frequently the red dhvaja an the white dhvaja respectively in the summit of a shaiva (shivaite) or a vaishnava (vishnuite) temple.
Alessandro Grossato, 15 October 1998

As a Hindu I can safely say that the swastika is a Hindu symbol and has been used for a very, very long time. It could also be used by Buddhists, I suppose as their religion has it's origin in ours. On the question of use of the swastika I can tell you that it can frequently be seen in Hindu places of worship in India and in the UK however I have never seen it on a flag during my trip to India in 1993.
Nitesh Dave, 10 February 1999

[Hindu flag]                     [Hindu flag]

My personal observations during the last part of my recent trip to India support and supplemenet Nitesh's statement. The primary aim of our trip was Ladakh and Zanskar, the Tibetan Buddhist areas in Jammu-and-Kashmir state (North-West of India). We left Ladakh through the Rohtang Pass (c. 4,900 m a.s.l.) road and spent one day in the hill station of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh state, then moved to Kalka, in Haryana state, and finally took the express train to New Delhi via the cities of Chandigarh and Ambala.

There were several Hinduist temples and shrines along the road and railway. Nearly all of them were topped with one or more red triangular flags. Such flags were also seen inside the temples, put on a long hoist vertically placed along a wall (e.g. in Rohtang Pass and Hambala temple in Manali). A small rectangular sacrifice area outside the Hambala temple in Manali was delimited with such a flag in each corner. All of the flags had silver fringe, and several of them were charged either with writings in ? (Hindi, Sanskrit, Pali) or more commonly with a swastika. All charges were in silver - I shall insist, not in white, but in silver.

In Ladakh and Zanskar, the swastika can also be seen on paintings in Buddhist monasteries, but its use is not very frequent. As Nitesh pointed it out above, it is probably the re-use by Buddhists of a pre-existing Hindu symbol.
Ivan Sache, 25 August 2001

Gratitude Flags

The TV program "Faut pas rever" (France3) told the story of a "bhopa", a healer, living in a small village of Rajasthan. The "bhopa" was once bitten by a cobra but survived. Following this event, he was considered as a "bhopa" and lives in a small house close to a temple dedicated to the Hindu snake god. The roof of the temple is crowned with several flags, which are gratitude flags. Every time the "bhopa" heals someone or an animal, the healed person or the animal owner must show his gratitude by bringing a flag. These rectangular flags are clearly homemade and seem to show extensive variations around a basic pattern. Most of them are horizontally divided in several brightly coloured stripes. Charges such as zigzags, symbols or letters are often added to the stripes.

I don't know if this use is specific of Rajasthan. I have seen myself Hindu temples in other Indian states (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh), in which only red or saffron triangular flags, often charged with letters or a swastika, were placed inside the temple or hoisted over it. However, I have not seen forests of striped flags on the temple roofs.
Ivan Sache, 30 May 2003

Prayer flags

[Hindu flag] by Olivier Touzeau

The most frequently seen flags [in part of Mauritius] are Hindu prayer flags, generally triangular and red, sometimes with white inscriptions and more rarely with a hanuman, which are often flown on little temples in the gardens of private citizens. I tried to locate this white inscription on Internet, and found it, with many other interesting images of what are claimed to be religious and prayer flags of various religions. See it at (choose page 3, bottom of the page). It is the "Hindi Om - Sanskrit seed syllable, the universal sound of creation."
Olivier Touzeau, 18 December 2003

I have seen lots of similar red Hindu triangular flags flown on little temples in the gardens of citizens in Fiji Islands Dec 2002.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 18 December 2003

[Om symbol]by António Martins-Tuválkin

This character, ॐ (U+0950) as given in the popular computer font Arial Unicode MT.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 January 2004

[Hindu flag] image by Roman Kogovsek

[Hindu flag] image by Roman Kogovsek

Variants of these flags are found mostly in Nepal and in the Darjeeling district of India, wherever a Nepali population is living. I haven’t seen them in other parts of India. As I was told, the flags bearing the letter Om and foot prints are for the god Krishna, while the swastika is a symbol for the god Ganesh.

Flags of the god Shiva

[flag of the god Shiva]   [flag of the god Shiva]

images by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

Those two flags are flags of the god Shiva and are always seen in his temples. I have seen the first one in a Shiva temple in Puri, India and the second one in a temple in Janakpur, Nepal.

Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

Pennant of Nandi

A Pennant of Nandi is seen here: (taken from this website: Nandi, sometimes spelled as Nadhi (Sanskrit: नंदी), is the bull which Siva, also spelled as Shiva, rides and the gate keeper of Siva and Parvati in Hindu mythology. Temples venerating Siva and Parvati display stone images of a seated Nandi, generally facing the main shrine. There are also a number of temples dedicated solely to Nandi.
Esteban Rivera, 25 October 2009

Flags of the God Jagganath

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

[flag of the god Jagganath] image by Roman Kogovsek, 11 July 2005

Variants of this flag are spread across the state of Orissa. These flags hang only in temples which are dedicated to the god Jagganath.
Roman Kogovsek, 14 July 2005

Jagganath is the deity the mispronunciation of whose name gives us the English expression "Juggernaut," meaning "unstoppable force." It derives from the custom of transporting his idol on a enormous, massive chariot during holy days.
Eugene Ipavec, 13 July 2005

Flag of Hanuman

Hanuman ( sa:हनुमान्, IAST:Hanumān ), known also as 'Anjaneya' (son of Anjana) or Maruti (or Maruti nandan), is one of the most popular concepts of devotees of God (bhakti) (devotion to God) in Hinduism and one of the most important personalities in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. His most famous feat, as described in the Hindu epic scripture the Ramayana, was leading an army of monkeys to fight the demon King Ravana. He is also referred to as Bajrang Bali (Sanskrit: Vajranga) because his body was hard like a (vajra). Hanumana is also known as Pavan-Putra (son of Pavana) and Vāyu-Putra because Pavan (the Hindu deity of the wind) had played an important role in Anjana's begetting Hanuman as her child.

Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, is worshipped by millions of people in India. Hanuman is the embodiment of devotion, dedication and strength. Devotees pray to Hanuman to remove the sufferings created by Saturn's and also to fulfill their wishes. Hanuman was always present on the flag of the chariot (RATH) of Arjun during Mahabharata war. As you know Krishna was charioteer (Sarathi) of Arjuna.

Lord Rama and Sri Krishna Devotees keep these flags in their temples. "Jai Sri Ram" is Written on these flags and lord hanumans picture is also there. These flags are also used for Hanuman chola, in which the devotee hangs the flags continuously for 11 Tuesdays on temple roof (different flags each Tuesday). During these Tuesdays the devotee has to follow some rules like no non vegetables, no alcohol, celibacy should be maintained during these Tuesdays, can't speak lies etc. If a devotee does this for 11 Tuesdays continuously...its said that his
all wishes are fulfilled.

The flag is seen here:

Esteban Rivera, 25 October 2009