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Dikpalas (or dikpalakas) are the Guardians of the Directions, the Vedic deities who rule the specific directions of space.

Each god is the protector (ruler) of the territories facing one of the cardinal directions or one of the four intermediate directions, plus two extra directions being zenith and nadir.

Kubera North Wealth
Yama South Judge of the Dead
Indra East
Varuna West
Ishana Northeast The culmination of both knowledge and wealth
Agni Southeast The Fire
Vayu Northwest The Wind
Nirrti Southwest Deathly hidden realms and sorrows
Brahma Zenith
Vishnu Nadir


With time, some Vedic gods progressively lost their position in favour of the Hindu deities, notably Vishnu and ShivaVishnu became the uncontested ruler of the west, while Shiva occupied the north-east or the east in certain Hindu traditions.

Interestingly, in the Angkor temples built by Jayavarman VII, Shiva is found on the northern axis.

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