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Indian Peafowl

Scientific NamePavo cristatu Linn
Common NameIndian Blue Peafowl / Common Peafowl , Mor or Mayur (Hindi), Mayil (Tamil), Mayuraha (Sanskrit)
DistributionThroughout India
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (LC)
Lord Murugan on His vahana

In religion and mythology

The peacock is considered sacred in Hindu religion. The divine vehicle or vahana of Lord Muruga is a peacock named Paravani. It is believed that during a battle between Lord Muruga and a demon named Surapadman, the demon assumed the form of a big mango tree. This tree was split into two by Lord Muruga's spear ( vael ). From one half emerged a rooster and from the other a peacock. Lord Muruga took the peacock as His vahana and the cock as His flag symbol.

Lord Krishna with the peacock feather on His crown

The bird is also associated with Goddess Saraswati. The Goddess is often shown with a peacock. Whenever Lord Indra transformed himself into an animal, he is believed to have become a peacock.

The bird is also associated with the famous Kapaleeshwarar temple at Chennai. Karpagambal (manifestation of Godess Parvati) in the form of a peacock is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva, represented by the traditional lingam . In fact, the part of Chennai where the temple is located is called Mylapore. (literally translated as ‘a town of peacocks').

The peacock is sacred to the Buddhists as well. In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Mahamayurin or the ‘Peacock wisdom Queen' is depicted riding a peacock.

The feathers of the peacock are also considered auspicious and protective in many parts of India. The feathers are used to fan Hindu Gods in temples. The crown of Lord Krishna is usually adorned by a peacock feather.


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