Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi (or Shri) are shown riding on their mount, the celestial bird Garuda. Vishnu, the “wide-strider,” measured out the cosmos in three strides. He is regarded as the protector of the world, and because of his compassion for humankind, descends to earth in various avatar forms, such as Prince Rama, to fight evil. Whenever Vishnu is incarnated, so is Lakshmi, to be his bride. Here, Garuda is taking the loving couple to their own heaven, Vaikuntha.