The Lingam (also, Linga, Shiva linga, meaning “mark” or “sign”) is an aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples. Although most Hindu sculpted images (murtis) are anthropomorphic, the aniconic Shiva Linga is an important exception. The Lingam is often represented with the Yoni, the aniconic symbol of the goddess. The union represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”.
The origins and interpretations of the Lingam are a subject of intense debate. According to one tradition, the Lingam represents the beginning-less and end-less Stambha pillar, suggesting the superiority and power of Shiva. Another theory suggests that the Lingam is a phallic symbol, though this explanation is disputed and most Hindus do not relate the Lingam to the phallus.