Shiva shown in his ascetic aspect, with his vahana, Nandi the bull.
Shiva is one of the greatest gods of Hinduism and forms part of the Trimurti. The "horned god" and phallic worship of the Indus valley civilization may have been a prototype of Shiva worship or Shaivism as this is mentioned as early as the Upanishads and the Mahabharata (500–200 BC). Shiva is identified with the fierce Vedic god Rudra and, in his terrible aspect, is the god of destruction and cosmic dissolution.
He is commonly worshiped in the form of the lingam, or symbolic phallus. His other main forms are the great yogi, or ascetic, and Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance. As in this statue, as a yogi he is depicted as seated deep in meditation in the Himalayas, holding a trident, a snake coiled around his neck, his body smeared with ashes, and his hair long and matted.