Axes: Parashu – the battle-axe of Shiva who gave it to Parashurama (Hindu mythology)

Parashu (Sanskrit: paraśu) is the Sanskrit word for battle-axe which can be wielded with one or both hands.


The parashu could be double edged or bladed or single-bladed with a spike on the non cutting edge. It usually measures between 3 – 5 feet though some are as long as 7 feet. The parashu is usually made of iron or wootz steel. The cutting edge is broader than the edge which is attached to the haft. The haft is often tied with a leather sheet to provide a good grip.

In Hinduism

The parashu named Vidyudabhi is the weapon of the god Shiva who gave it to Parashurama, sixth avatar of Vishnu, whose name means “Rama with the axe” and also taught him its mastery. Parashurama learnt Kalaripayattu from Lord Shiva who was the inventor of Kalaripayattu. Parashurama was the guru of Dronacharya, the guru who instructed the Pandavas in the epic of the Mahabharata. Bhishma and Karna, half brother of Pandava also took instruction in weaponry from Parashurama. Parashurama was known to have terrible temper having lost his father to the evil Kshatriya Kartavirya Arjuna (not to be confused with Arjuna of Mahabharata). Parashurama’s weapon had supernatural powers. It had four cutting edges, one on each end of the blade head and one on each end of the shaft.

The parashu was known as the most lethal close combat weapons of the epics. It is also one of the weapons of God Shiva and Goddess Durga and is still depicted on their idols throughout India. It is also one the weapons of Ganesha the Elephant-God.

This artifact is a part of SwordTemple Library

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