Indra is the king of devas in the heaven of Trayatrimsa or third heaven of the desire realm. Indra rides on the Airavata elephant and is yellow in colour. Indra holds in his two hands a vajra and a breast of a woman. He is sometimes seated on the Airavata elephant wearing a headdress. Sometimes with his right hand he holds a Vajra and his left hand rests on a hip. Sakra is a very popular deva in both Hindu and Buddhist tradition.
In the past when Indra was a human being he had thirty-three pious friends. Under his leadership they cultivated many virtues by helping the poor, establishing many wells for thirsty people and houses for travellers. By these virtues he attained the state of Indra, the king of devas in the city of Sudarsana ruling over 32 palaces. The other 32 friends became the governors of these 32 palaces.
Trayatrimsa heaven is a very lovely palace with natural beauty. The city is full of lovely damsels called Apsaras. The only suffering that the citizens of this heaven have is to undergo
to fight with Asuras at times. Hence after losing their lives or at the end of their life span there arises the five signs or omens which predict their end of life in that heaven. e story of Sakra fighting against Asuras is a very popular literature in Buddhist and Hindu tradition.
Sakra is said to be a guardian of Buddhism. He always requested Buddha Shakyamuni for dharma teachings for the benefit of all sentient beings. He is better treated in Buddhist literature in contrast to Hindu tradition. He usually made a huge offering to Buddhist Sangha.
Once upon a time, one of the friends of Indra went to Avici Hell and suffered a lot. Through repeated requests of Indra, Buddha Shakyamuni delivered the Tantra of Durgatihari sadhana. When Indra himself was about to die, Buddha Shakyamuni delivered and transmitted the dharma door of Aparimita dharani by which the life span of Sakra was extended significantly.