Indra The King of Gods
Indra is the Vedic god of rain and thunder. He is also the king of the gods. He has four hands. In one handheho1ds a thunderbolt, and in the others a conch-shell, a bow and arrows, a hook and a net. He is also shown as having two hands and eyes all over his body, and is called ‘the thousand-eyed one’. His mount is the king of the elephants, Airavat, who is white in colour and has four tusks.
In the earlier Vedic period Indra was very powerful and was shown as the protector of cows, priests and even gods. There are more hymns in praise of Indra than in praise of the other Vedic gods. He has a beautiful consort, known a Indrani. In the post-Vedic period and during the age of the Purana, Indra fell from the front rank of gods and was given a status lower in all respects. Though still the king of the smaller gods, he is inferior to the holy triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. At a later stage he is described as the ruler of Swarga (heaven) where the gods live. At this stage he is shown as having developed human frailties.
Though not the object of direct worship in temples, he constantly appears in the tales of religious scriptures. His idol, sitting on an elephant, appears on the walls of many Vishnu temples. Indira is also the guardian of the East.