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Shiva's vahana is Nandi the bull. He's called 'Vrushabhnath'; 'vrushabh' meaning bull, and 'nath' is master, or Lord, thus lord of the bull.
A vahana is not only a vehicle; it also indicate its God's temperament. Shiva is an independent God. He is a tapaswi, a vairagi, whom u cannot domesticate completely. You can only domesticate a bull if you castrate it. Thereafter, it is hitched to a bullock cart or a plough, but it cannot be mated with a cow. Only a wild bull can be used for that, though not for ploughing. So it is a wild bull that is associated with Shiva.
There is always a turtle in front of the Nandi in temples. It is a symbol of yoga; just as a trutle can draw all its legs into its shell, so a yogi can rein or control his senses.
The 'shaant' or peaceful roop of Shiva is associated with Nandi the bull. But His 'ugra' or ferocious angry roop is always seen with dogs. Temples with idols of Kaal Bhairava usually keep a barking dog inside.
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