Indra (; Sanskrit: इन्द्र) is an ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism

He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Devas (gods)

He is associated with the sky, lightning, weather, thunder, storms, rains, river flows and war

Indra’s mythology and powers are similar to other Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perun, Perkūnas, Zalmoxis, Taranis, Zeus, and Thor, showing connections to hypothesized Proto-Indo-European mythology

Indra is the most referred deity in the Rigveda

He is celebrated for his powers, and as the one who kills the great evil (malevolent type of Asura) named Vritra who obstructs human prosperity and happiness

Indra destroys Vritra and his “deceiving forces”, and thereby brings rains and the sunshine as the friend of mankind

He is also an important deity worshipped by the Kalash people, indicating his prominence in ancient Hinduism

Indra’s significance diminishes in the post-Vedic Indian literature, but he still plays an important role in various mythological events

He is depicted as a powerful hero but one who constantly gets into trouble with his pride, drunken, hedonistic and adulterous ways, and the god who disturbs sages as they meditate because he fears self-realized human beings may become more powerful than him

According to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Indra is the position of being the king of the gods which changes in every Manvantara—a cyclic period of time in Hindu cosmology

Each Manvantara has its own Indra and the Indra of the current Manvantara is called Purandhara

Indra is also depicted in Buddhist (Indā in Pali) and Jaina mythologies

Indra rules over the much-sought Devas realm of rebirth within the Samsara doctrine of Buddhist traditions

However, like the post-Vedic Hindu texts, Indra is also a subject of ridicule and reduced to a figurehead status in Buddhist texts, shown as a god that suffers rebirth and redeath

In the Jainism traditions, unlike Buddhism and Hinduism, Indra is not the king of Gods- the enlightened leaders (called Tirthankaras or Jinas), but King of superhumans residing in Swarga-Loka, and very much a part of Jain rebirth cosmology

He is also the one who appears with his wife Indrani to celebrate the auspicious moments in the life of a Jain Tirthankara, an iconography that suggests the king and queen of superhumans residing in Swarga (heaven) reverentially marking the spiritual journey of a Jina

Indra’s iconography shows him wielding a lightning thunderbolt weapon known as Vajra, riding on a white elephant known as Airavata

In Buddhist iconography the elephant sometimes features three heads, while Jaina icons sometimes show the elephant with five heads

Sometimes a single elephant is shown with four symbolic tusks

Indra’s heavenly home is on or near Mount Meru (also called Sumeru)