Murti (Sanskrit: मूर्ति, ISO: Mūrti; lit

 ‘form, embodiment, or solid object’) is a general term for an image, statue or idol of a deity or mortal in Hindu culture

In Hindu temples, it is a symbolic icon

A murti is itself not a god in Hinduism, but it is a shape, embodiment or manifestation of a deity

Murti are also found in some nontheistic Jainist traditions, where they serve as symbols of revered mortals inside Jain temples, and are worshiped in murtipujaka rituals

A murti is typically made by carving stone, wood working, metal casting or through pottery

Ancient era texts describing their proper proportions, positions and gestures include the Puranas, Agamas and Samhitas

The expressions in a murti vary in diverse Hindu traditions, ranging from Ugra symbolism to express destruction, fear and violence (Durga, Kali), as well as Saumya symbolism to express joy, knowledge and harmony (Saraswati, Lakshmi)

Saumya images are most common in Hindu temples

Other murti forms found in Hinduism include the linga

A murti is an embodiment of the divine, the Ultimate Reality or Brahman to some Hindus

In religious context, they are found in Hindu temples or homes, where they may be treated as a beloved guest and serve as a participant of puja in Hinduism

In other occasions, it serves as the centre of attention in annual festive processions and these are called utsava murti

The earliest murti are mentioned by Pāṇini in 4th century BCE

Prior to that the agnicayana ritual ground seemed to served as a template for the temple

Murti is sometimes referred to as murthi, or vigraha or pratima