Guardians of the directions

Parshvanatha Temple, Khajuraho, the southeast corner, with guardians Indra (E) and Agni (SE).

In Hinduism the Guardians of the Directions (Sanskrit: दिक्पाल, Dikpāla) are the deities who rule the specific directions of space according to Hinduism, Jainism and Vajrayāna Buddhism—especially Kālacakra. As a group of eight deities, they are called Aṣṭa-Dikpāla (अष्ट-दिक्पाल), literally meaning guardians of eight directions. They are often augmented with two extra deities for the ten directions (the two extra directions being zenith and nadir), when they are known as the Daśa-Dikpāla. In Hinduism it is traditional to represent their images on the walls and ceilings of Hindu temples. They are also often portrayed in Jain temples, with the exception that Nāga usually takes the place of Vishnu[1] in the nadir. Ancient Java and Bali Hinduism recognize Nava-Dikpāla, literally meaning guardians of nine directions, that consist of eight directions with one addition in the center. The nine guardian gods of directions is called Dewata Nawa Sanga (Nine guardian devata). The diagram of these guardian gods of directions is featured in Surya Majapahit, the emblem of Majapahit empire.

There are strong similarities between the concept of the guardians of the directions and the lore surrounding the Chinese four symbols, four ancestral spirits who are responsible for four of the cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West).[citation needed]

The names of the Dikpālas vary slightly, but generally include the following:

Directions in Hindu tradition are called as Diśā, or Dik. There are four primary directions and a total of 10 directions.

Brahma, Lord of the Zenith (center) with (from left) Varuna, Kubera, Yama and Indra.

In Hinduism, the guardians of the cardinal directions are called the Lokapālas (लोकपाल), or Dikpalaka. Three main distinctions of Dikpalaka are recognized, being:

Nava-Dikpāla ("Guardians of Nine Directions") — called Dewata Nawa Sanga in ancient Java and Bali Hinduism
The diagram of Surya Majapahit shows the arrangements of Hindu deities each resided in main cardinal points.