What Is The Symbolism & Meaning Of Elephant And Ganesha Tattoos?

A tattoo is on your body for the rest of your life. You will carry that image on your skin forever. This is why so many people get tattoos that are meaningful to them, inspire them, or act as a stark reminder with words to live by.

For many people, animals are great inspiration for tattoos, as different animals carry different connotations and symbolism. For instance, the lion is mighty and fierce, whilst the wolf is wild and cunning.

So, what do elephants represent, and what is the meaning behind elephant or Ganesha tattoos? Let’s find out.


The image of the elephant is one we see in many cultures. Particularly in Asian and African cultures, the elephant carries a deep meaning. They are known as gentle giants, with great wisdom and intelligence that demands respect.

Not only this, but the Hindu god, Ganesha or Ganesh, has the head of an elephant, and he is also a popular image that is used for tattoos. In this guide, we will take a look at the symbolism and meaning behind both the elephant and Ganesha tattoos to see whether these tattoos will be right for you.

What Do Elephant Tattoos Mean?

Elephant tattoos are widely popular. Whether it’s just a small outline or an elephant, a whole detailed piece or just the head, this image is tattooed across countless people’s bodies.

There is a saying that ‘elephants never forget’ and so these animals have become synonymous with memory, wisdom, sentience and intelligence.

In addition to this, elephants are considered courageous, strong, caring and kind towards their own, traveling in large families and remaining loyal to those around them. In many cultures, elephants are considered symbols of good luck and great fortune, and should be respected.

For many people, elephants are not only linked to wisdom, but also knowledge, the divine and the arts. For these reasons, many people choose to have elephant tattoos to represent their love of family, longing for wisdom and as a reminder to be strong.

Credits: thetattoogalaxy

What Do Ganesha Tattoos Mean?

Ganesha tattoos are extremely popular. The image of the god Ganesh/Ganesha is represented in tattoos with the head of an elephant and the body of a man, and Ganesha is worshiped through body ink all around the world, no matter what religion or beliefs someone has.

Ganesha is the symbol of wisdom and understanding, much like other tattoos, and is known as the god of removing obstacles from life. With obstacles, barriers and evils withdrawn from your path, you are able to lead a life of happiness, prosperity, intellect, and attain perfection in life.

Ganesha tattoos are also symbolic of good luck, intellect, knowledge and the arts, much like elephant tattoos.

In addition to this, Ganesha is often referred to as ‘the Lord of Beginnings’ who is worshiped and honored in the hope that he will rid you of any evils and allow you to find prosperity, peace and knowledge in life.

Ganesha tattoo design

The elephant headed god, Ganesh is often considered the patron of intellects, bankers, authors, scribes and others of high profession and class, and is therefore a symbol of greatness that many want to have engraved onto their skin forever.

In Hindu culture, Ganesha was asked to translate one of the most sacred books by Vyasa. Before simply translating, Ganesha took time to slowly go over the text and understand its true meaning, which is likely why his image is symbolic of the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

When you look at the image of Ganesh, you notice the head is of the elephant, possibly to symbolize his great wisdom and intelligence, but he also has 4 arms to portray his divinity and superhuman powers that us mere humans do not possess.

Finally, you will see in many images of Ganesh that the mouth is wide, which is thought to represent the natural human want and desire to enjoy life to the fullest in this world.

As you can imagine, the god Ganesha’s greatness, ability to open paths to new beginnings, drive to seek wisdom and passion in life, along with his power to remove obstacles makes him the perfect image and inspiration for many people’s tattoos.

History Of Elephant Symbolism

Elephants have long lived beside humans. In ancient times, elephants were even used by us humans during wars to terrify our enemies. In Asianic countries, elephants have even become domesticated, and used as religious symbols, for transport, as working animals and even to fight in battles.

Credits: durgesh_tattoo

In many cultures, elephants are recognized symbols of folklore, religion, art, literature and popular culture. Even in Buddhism, the white elephant symbolizes an aspect of Buddha that is very important. It is symbolic of love, peace and compassion.

Due to their great and powerful status, and their reputation as long lived animals, elephants are now known as immortal divine beings, linked to the arts, literature, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Should I Get An Elephant Or Ganesha Tattoo?

Elephant and Ganesha tattoos can have many different meanings, and can represent different things for different people. For instance, some may choose an elephant tattoo as a good luck charm, or because it may bring them guidance and wisdom in life.

Others may choose to have an elephant tattoo because they want to have a visual representation of their loyalty to their family, or because the symbol of intellect can drive them and lead the way in their lives.

For others, a Ganesha tattoo can be more suitable, as it can represent their religion, and the story of Ganesha. Ganesha tattoos can also be symbolic of good luck, as by honoring this god on your skin, you can hope and pray to Ganesh for good fortune, and for your path in life to be cleared of obstacles.

Whichever image you choose to be tattooed onto your skin, make sure that you think deeply about it, and choose a design that conveys and commands respect, as these symbols are meant to connote great intelligence, wisdom and compassion.

elephant tatoo

Finally, keep in mind that the elephant is one of the most beloved creatures in the world, understood and respected by all cultures.

Choose a tattoo of these phenomenal creatures that reflects your beliefs, has great meaning to you and inspires you. One of the best tattoo ideas that can connote these values is the elephant tattoo, or the Ganesha tattoo.


To summarize, elephant and Ganesha tattoos are widely popular all around the world. The symbol of the elephant represents great wisdom, intelligence, prosperity and loyalty, which is why it comes as no surprise that elephants make for popular tattoos.

In addition, Ganesha is the Hindu god with an elephant head, which is also the subject of many tattoos. Ganesha is a symbol of wisdom, and it is thought that he removed evil and obstacles in life, so who wouldn’t want to carry Ganesha around with them for the rest of their lives?

With proper knowledge of what these images mean, you can make an informed choice as to whether these tattoos are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Credits: an_kuma

If you have some more queries about elephant and Ganesha tattoos, check out our handy frequently asked questions section here!

Who Is Ganesha?

Ganesha or Ganesh is a Hindu god that is represented with an elephant head and a human body. Ganesh is one of the most popular Hindy deities who is known as ‘the remover of all obstacles’.

It is thought that praying to Ganesh or honoring him will welcome his blessing for all things in life to go smoothly.

In Hinduism, Ganesha is considered the Lord of success, and the one who banishes and destroys evil and obstacles. In addition to this, Ganesha is worshipped as a god and symbol of knowledge, wisdom and great wealth.

What Does A Ganesha Tattoo Mean?

As Ganesha is the one to rid the world of obstacles in our lives and evils, Ganesha is seen as a fortuitous symbol that many people wish to get tattooed, even if they are not Hindu. Ganesha is also a symbol of wisdom and understanding, things that many people search for in their lives.

The image of Ganesha therefore represents moving forward in life with education, knowledge, understanding, intellect and teaches people to attain greatness. It is for this reason that so many people get Ganesha tattoos, as they symbolize finding new beginnings, and being wise.

What Does An Elephant Tattoo Mean?

Elephants are very graceful creatures. They are intelligent, strong, caring towards their young, and loyal. They are also a symbol of good luck, divinity and strength.

Just like Ganesha, elephants are also associated with prosperity and wisdom, and they are known as very respected animals that make for great tattoos.

Where Should I Have An Elephant Tattoo?

You can have an elephant or Ganesha tattoo anywhere you like. If you want something small, then perhaps the upper arm or inner arm would be a good place for an elephant, or on the shoulder blade.

For a larger, more detailed Ganesha piece, you may want a half-sleeve tattoo, or a large back piece that can really honor the God Ganesha.

Peter Beaker