Given that permanent body art is not generally frowned upon in the Hindu religion, many people feel the need to express their devoutness to their faith, and their fascination with all of the stunning art and symbolism that goes along with it through Hindu tattoos. Although one may not follow this particular faith, they may also find that these same symbols apply to their own view of life, and how they choose to lead it.
Many people prefer Hindu tattoos that are small and simple, but interesting in design. These are generally done in symbols, one of the most popular being, of course, the Om (or Aum) symbol, which represents three important gods, worlds and sacred scriptures. It is also the symbol to one of the most important sounds created by God, and is at the center of everything. For this design you could use the usual Devanagari, or something a bit different like the very stylized and sharp Tamil or Tibetan scripts. Other common symbols are the lotus (a symbol of both beauty and detachment), the trishula (“three spear” in Sanskrit) which is a symbol of the overwhelming pull of transcendental reality, and the emblem for Shiva; or a peacock, which symbolizes protection and religion in all of its splendor.
Most other Hindu tattoos show colorful images of gods and goddesses, or show large, detailed scenes that depict stories. One popular example is Lord Ganesha; for this god you could show him using his axe to cut the attachments of a devotee, the next a rope to bring truth to another. The third and fourth can show him rewarding and blessing his followers. One interesting idea would be to recreate the four stages of life into an Indian folk art style; the first stage being a young child pouring diligently over his or her books, the second could be a large, boldy colored wedding. The third, an elderly person with his or her chubby-cheeked grandchild on their knee; and the fourth, retreating into the wilderness. This can be done in a circular diagram, or in four long strips pressed together into a perfect square.
Aside from the depth of meaning and extraordinary beauty, what makes Hindu tattoos so special is the variety of symbols and stories that can make any tattoo unique.