Narasimha, (Sanskrit: नृसिंह, IAST: Nṛsiṁha), sometimes spelled Narasingha (; Sanskrit: नरसिंह, lit

 ‘man-lion’, IAST: Narasiṃha) is a fierce avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, one who incarnates in the form of part lion and part human to destroy evil and end religious persecution and calamity on Earth, thereby restoring Dharma

Narasimha is depicted with three eyes, and is described as the God of Destruction, who destroys the entire universe at the time of great-dissolution (Mahapralaya)

Hence he is known as Kala (time) or Mahakala (great-time) or Parakala (beyond time) as well

There is even a matha (monastery) by the name of Parakala Matha in Sri Vaishnava tradition

Alongside, Narasimha is also described as the God of Yoga, in the form of Yoga-Narasimha

Narasimha iconography shows him with a human torso and lower body, with a lion face and claws, typically with a demon Hiranyakashipu in his lap whom he is in the process of defeating

The demon is the powerful brother of evil Hiranyaksha who had been previously defeated by Vishnu, and thus hated the latter

Hiranyakashipu gained special powers by which he could not be killed during the day or night, inside or outside the house, any place in the world i


neither in sky nor on land nor in heaven nor in pataala, by any weapon, and by man, god, asura or animal

Endowed with this, he began to create chaos and havoc, persecuting all devotees of Vishnu, including his own son

Vishnu understood the demon’s power and creatively adapted into a mixed avatar that is neither man nor animal and kills the demon at the junction of day and night, inside and outside

Narasimha is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees from evil

The most popular Narasimha mythology is the legend that protects his devotee Prahlada, and creatively destroys Prahlada’s demonic father and tyrant Hiranyakashipu

Narasimha is one of the major deities in Vaishnavism and his legends are revered in Vaikhanasas, Sri Vaishnavism, Sadh Vaishnavism and various other Vaishnavism traditions of Hinduism

He is celebrated in many regional Hindu temples, texts, performance arts and festivals such as Holika prior to the Hindu spring festival of colors called Holi

The earliest representation, dating back to the 4th-century CE, of Narasimha is from Kondamotu in Coastal Andhra

Other older known artworks of Narasimha have been found at several sites across Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, such as at the Mathura archaeological site

These have been variously dated between 2nd and 4th-century CE