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Sindurvadan – The story behind vermillion-clad Gajanan

One may have noticed many idols of Ganesh clad in vermillion or sindur, as they call it. Here is an intriguing tale that explains the origin and significance of orange colored Ganesh.

Birth of Sindur

It was sometime during Dwaparyug. Lord Brahma woke up from his sleep and yawned. At the same time a terrifying person was born via his mouth. He had a peculiar and scary red look, but beautiful and fragrant. 

Lord Brahma stunned by his creation, blessed his son with a boon – “You would be named Sindur and will have the ability to rule the three worlds. You would be fearless. Panchbhoot, Devatas, Rakshas, Yakshas or Humans – even Indra et al, would not be able to cause any harm to you. Day or Night – you will remain fearless.

Lord Brahma didn’t stop at this. As he was immensely mesmerized by Sindur, he added, “You won’t even fear any living or dead. If you get angry and lock anyone in your arms – that person or thing will get broken down to millions of pieces. You can stay wherever you wish to, in the entire universe.


Sindur becomes Sidurasur

Gaining this exceptional boon, Sindur developed arrogance and greed. He dethroned everyone and became the ruler of the three worlds – Swarglok aka Heaven, Patallok aka Asuras’ abode and Mrityulok aka earth.

Sindur became Sindurasur and everyone feared him. 

Birth of incarnation of Ganesh

Sidurasur attacked Kailash, to show his supreme strength. Devi Parvati annoyed by this violence, left Kailash for a peaceful and safer place. She lived in Sundarvan and birthed the incarnation of Ganesh or Mayuresh (more about this in another post) – who was born with four hands, big tummy, elephant head and extreme glow. 


Sindurasur knew that Devi Parvati’s son was going to kill him. To save this infant, Lord Shiv ordered Nandi to take the new born to Raja Varenya’s palace – this would also fulfill the blessing that Raja Varenya and his wife Pushpika, had earned in their previous birth – to become parents to the incarnation of Lord Ganesh in Dwaparyug. 

Gajanan travels to his ultimate caretakers

Nandi carried this newborn and laid him next to Pushpika. On looking at his different appearance, Raja Varenya and his wife Pushpika, decided to abandon the baby in forest.

Rishi Parashar and Rishi-patni Vatsalya’s ashram was nearby. They found the abandoned baby and decided to raise him as their own with love, care and respect. They named him Gajanan, as he had elephant head and they suspected him to be Ganesh avatar.

Gajanan’s determination to save the universe

Gajanan was a bright kid. At the mere age of 9 years, he had gathered the knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads, Smriti,Nitishastra, Dharmshastra, Puranas, etc. He was adorable and liked by all rishis and their families.

Meanwhile, Sindurasur’s threat was crippling the universe. Rishi-muni, Devgans and all others kept fleeing to safer locations, as Sindurasur killed anyone he liked. One day, some sadhus or sages were speaking about this and Gajanan overheard their conversation. He went to Rishi Parashar and said, “I keep hearing about Sindurasur a lot these days. His bad deeds instigate me a lot. This has to stop and I will end him!”

Rishi was skeptical for Gajanan was his son, even though he knew that Gajanan himself is the God supreme. When Rishi-patni Vatsalya learned about this, she had tears in her eyes. But, Gajanan was too determined. He seeked his parents’ blessings and climbed over the Mushak and set off to fight Rakshas Sindurasur.

Gajanan vs. Sindurasur

Gajanan’s roar initiated an earthquake in the world and this roar was so loud that Sidurasur fainted. When he regained consciousness and realized that a mere 9 year old was causing this, he went face-to-face with Gajanan. Looking at Gajanan Sidurasur said, “Dear kid, you should stop all this and start worshiping me.”

Gajanan reformed himself into a gigantic appearance – the one that stretched his head through the skies and feet into the Patal lok. His ears spread across directions and the end of his hands were invisible. It felt like he has infinite heads, infinite eyes, infinite arms and infinite legs. He glowed and got armed with godly ornaments and weapons. This was the Vinayak form of Ganesh.

This was it! This scared Sindurasur to his bones. He raised his weapon on Lord Vinayak, who counter-attacked Sindurasur into millions of pieces. The atmosphere filled with saffron colored and fragrant vermillion and it spread across the body of Lord Vinayak.

Thus, this form of Ganesh immersed in vermillion or sindur, came to be known as Sindurvadan, aka, the one who killed Sindurasur.

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