Karnikara, aka: Karṇikārā, Karṇikāra; 8 Definition(s)


Karnikara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Karṇikāra (कर्णिकार) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The presiding deity residing over the liṅga in this place (Karṇikāra) is named Gajādhyakṣa. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas is found in the commentary of the Jirṇoddhāra-daśaka by Nigamajñānadeva. The word liṅga refers to a symbol used in the worship of Śiva and is used thoughout Śaiva literature, such as the sacred Āgamas.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.


Karṇikāra (कर्णिकार) refers to a variety of maṇḍapa (halls attached to the temple), according to the Matsya-purāṇa (verses 270.1-30). The karṇikāra-maṇḍapa is to be built with 20 pillars (stambha). The Matsyapurāṇa is one of the eighteen major purāṇas dating from the 1st-millennium BCE.

Accordingly (verse 270.15-17), “These maṇḍapas (eg., karṇikāra) should be either made triangular, circular, octagonal or with 16 sides or they are square. They promote kingdoms, victory, longevity, sons, wife and nourishment respecitvely. Temples of other shape than these are inauspicious.”

(Source): Wisdom Library: Purāṇas

Karṇikāra (कर्णिकार).—A son of Jaṭāyu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 36.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Karṇikāra (कर्णिकार) is the name of a tree found in maṇidvīpa (Śakti’s abode), according to the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa 12.10. Accordingly, these trees always bear flowers, fruits and new leaves, and the sweet fragrance of their scent is spread across all the quarters in this place. The trees (eg. Karṇikāra) attract bees and birds of various species and rivers are seen flowing through their forests carrying many juicy liquids. Maṇidvīpa is defined as the home of Devī, built according to her will. It is compared with Sarvaloka, as it is superior to all other lokas.

The Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa, or Śrīmad-devī-bhāgavatam, is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, a type of Sanskrit literature containing cultural information on ancient India, religious/spiritual prescriptions and a range of topics concerning the various arts and sciences. The whole text is composed of 18,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 6th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam
Śāktism book cover
context information

Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The karṇikāra is difficult to pin down with certainty. In most instances it seems to be a tree with distinctive yellow flowers that are often compared to torches or oil lamps.

karṇikāra-latāḥ phulla-kusum’-ākula-ṣaṭpadāḥ |
sa-kajjala-śikhā rejur dīpa-mālā iv’ ojjvalāḥ ||
    (Verse 1655 in the Subhashitavali, attributed to Indradatta)

“The karṇikāra tendrils with bees thronging the full blown flowers shone like blazing strings of soot-tipped lamps. ”

puṣpit-āgrāṃś ca paśy’ emān karṇikārān samantataḥ |
hāṭaka-pratisamchannān narān pīt’ambarān iva ||
    (Chapter 1 of Kiṣkhindhā Kāṇḍa of the Rāmāyaṇa – Valmīki)

“And look at these flower-tipped karṇikāras everywhere – they look like men robed in yellow and laden with golden jewellery.”

The karṇikāra also appears with red flowers at times and Kale, in his gloss on the tree’s appearance in the Ṛtusaṃhāra, notes that it can have either red or yellow flowers.

varṇa-prakarṣe sati karṇikāraṃ dunoti nirgandatayā sma cetaḥ |
prāyeṇa sāmagrya-vidhau guṇānāṃ prāṅ-mukhī viśva-sṛjaḥ pravṛttiḥ ||
    (3.26 Kumārasaṃbhava – Kālidāsa)

“For all its magnificent colour the karṇikāra troubled the mind – for it gave out no smell. The creator tends not to favour bestowing a complete set of qualities on a thing.”


The Amarakoṣa gives only two alternative names for the karṇikāra: drumotpala and parivyādha. In Monier Williams, all three are identified with the Pterospermum Acerifolium. The karṇikāra is also though identified as the Cathartocarpus Fistula. Apte says that the karṇikāra is the Cassia Fistula, which could be another name for the Carthartocarpus Fistula. The Pandanus database says that the Cassia Fistula is either āgravadha or kṛtmāla in Sanskrit, which the Amarakośa corroborates listing eight names for the tree – none of which is karṇikāra (or indeed drumotpala or parivyādha). It does not thus seem possible to say for sure that the karṇikāra is the cassia fistula, but this seems the most likely fit.

(Source): Sanskrit Literature: Karnikara

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

The karnikāra flower (Pterospermum acerifolium);

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Karṇikāra (कर्णिकार) refers to a tree from the island of Uttarakuru, where trees are said to bear perpetual fruit and foliage.

(Source): Google Books: Divine Stories: Divyavadana

Relevant definitions

Search found 16 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Maṇḍapa (मण्डप).—[maṇḍaṃ bhūṣāṃ pāti pā-ka, maṇḍ-kapan vā]1) A temporary hall erected on ceremo...
Jaṭāyu (जटायु).—m. A son of Śyeni and Aruṇa, a semi divine bird [ He was a great friend of Daśa...
Urṇanābha (उर्णनाभ).—A spider; cf. ऊर्णनाभ (ūrṇanābha).Derivable forms: urṇanābhaḥ (उर्णनाभः).-...
Padmakośa (पद्मकोश, “lotus-bud”).—A type of gesture (āṅgika) made with a single hand ...
puṣparāga (पुष्पराग).—m A topaz or Opal beryl.
Gajādhyakṣa (गजाध्यक्ष) is the Sanskrit name of a deity presiding over Karṇikāra, one of the...
Dikkumāra (दिक्कुमार) refers to “guardians of the ten directions /compass points” and represent...
Kanikāra, (m. nt.) & kaṇṇikāra J. IV, 440; V, 420; the difference stated at J. V, 422 is kaṇi...
The dāruja-liṅgas (दारुजलिङ्ग) are made of the timber of the śami, madhūka, karṇikāra, maṇḍū...
Pragraha (प्रग्रह).—Absence of euphonic change; the. term is frequently used in the Taittiriya ...
Drumotpala (द्रुमोत्पल).—the Karṇikāra tree. द्रुमोत्पलः कर्णिकारः (drumotpalaḥ karṇikāraḥ) Ak....
Gaṇeru (गणेरु).—The Karṇikāra tree. -f.1) A harlot.2) A female elephant.Derivable forms: gaṇeru...
Vṛkṣotpala (वृक्षोत्पल).—the Karṇikāra tree. Derivable forms: vṛkṣotpalaḥ (वृक्षोत्पलः).Vṛkṣotp...
Kaṇaru (कणरु).—The कर्णिकार (karṇikāra) tree (Mar. kaṇhera).-rā, -ruḥ f.1) A she-elephant.2) A ...
Vanasthalī (वनस्थली).—A forest region, description of; trees with flowers like kiṃśuka, k...

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