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The tiger-footed Vyaghrapada and snake-footed Patanjali salute Nataraja.

Vyaghrapada (Sanskrit: व्याघ्रपद, IAST: vyāghrapada, lit. tiger legged), was one of the mythical rishis (sage) of ancient India.

The tradition[edit]

The legend states that Vyaghrapada was a rishi and he was entrusted with the task of picking up fresh flowers, untouched even by the honeybees, for offering to Shiva in his aspect as Nataraja in the temple complex of Chidambaram, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. While plucking the flowers, Vyaghrapada would get wounded on account of thorns and the rough surface. Shiva conferred on him feet of tigers and this ended the sage’s miseries. So armed with the tiger’s feet, the sage easily moved from place to place, including climbing rough trees to pluck fresh flowers untouched even by the honey bees.


His image and iconography depicts him as a human being but with the legs of a tiger. He is also shown having a tiger-like tail. Generally, he is shown alongside Patanjali, and both are depicted as offering homage to Shiva in his aspect as Natraja.

Sthalasayana Perumal Temple, Tirusirupuliyur in Tamil Nadu, a Vishnu temple, is known to have been visited by Vyaghrapada with Patanjali and got the darshan of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam.

See also[edit]


  • Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola