Snake and Ladder Tattoo Meaning [ Explained ]

Tattoos are a personal choice, and many people make the decision to get a tattoo because they’ve fallen in love with the imagery.

One of these many tattoos is the snake and ladder tattoo. With this tattoo meaning, the snake climbs up a ladder to reach heaven, but falls down when it sees that it must go through fire.

Sounds like a pretty bad deal!

Here are some great ways to decide if you should get the snake and ladder tattoo.

snake and ladder arm tattoo
@Jess Doyle Tattoos

First let’s talk about the meanings behind this tattoo

The snake and ladder is a parable. The snake represents temptation or evil, because it tries to go up the ladder to get to heaven, but can’t and falls back down into hell. The Ladder, on the other hand represents religion, because the ladder is used to get up higher in life.


The ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft. The morality lesson of the game was that a person can attain salvation (Moksha) through doing good, whereas by doing evil one will be reborn as lower forms of life. wikipedia
The snake and ladder is a metaphor for life. In life we should never try to get anything without putting in all of our effort no matter what it is. And even if it isn’t going to materialize into something for us, we still have to put in all of that effort no matter what.
Originally, the snake and ladder symbol is a Hindu symbol that translates as ” The one who walks on the path of life will rise to the top “. It has two variants, one being linked with a ladder that has nine rungs, while the other depicts no ladder at all. The meaning of each is “The path of life begins in this world and ends in another“.
The snake and ladder tattoo has a religious and spiritual meaning. It is commonly associated with Hinduism, in which it represents the path of life. By taking this path, an individual can be free from the cycle of life and death.

The ladder in this tattoo can symbolize the struggle we face on our way to heaven or enlightenment, while the snake represents temptation. In general, this tattoo is used as a symbol of Hinduism.

The ladder in this design usually has nine steps. This tattoo symbolizes the nine worlds and the karmic cycle of reincarnation.

The snake in this tattoo can also represent death, which represents the end of individual life and the beginning of a new life. It also represents desire, or temptation, as well as ignorance on our part.

snake and ladder tattoo

The game

Snakes and ladders is a traditional Indian board game, traditionally played with dice. It all started in ancient India, where it had religious significance to the Hindus. The term snakes and ladders comes from Hindu mythology, as well as Buddhism.

Jnana Chaupar: A Game of Knowledge (19th century AD) from the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, Jodhpur

Snakes and Ladders progresses players in a zig zag pattern up a grid of about 100 squares by the roll of dice, or cowry shells originally. Planted on various squares are ladders that move players further up the board and snakes (or chutes) that slide them back down. The first player to reach the final square, entirely by chance, is the winner.


The best way to get this tattoo

Men or women both can rock this tattoo if they have it placed on the forearm or upper arm. It is a common placement for this design because there is plenty of room to extend the design and make it more detailed. If you’re going to get this piece, I would suggest getting it in black and grey with a touch of red to make it realistic and vibrant.

@Soft Fury Tattoo

So, there you have it. Now that you know the snake and ladder tattoo meaning, you can make a decision about whether or not this is something for you.

The snake and ladder tattoo is done in many variations. It doesn’t matter which specific form or design you choose, as long as the tattoo has a meaning to your life.

In conclusion, tattoo meanings are subjective

Again, meanings are subjective and can vary widely from person to person, for example, when i did my reaserch on this article,  i found a person on reddit who got a version of this tattoo because of a streamer he follows

I got a No Snakes Just Ladders tattoo, not just because of the meaning behind it but because of Zerkaa too. His videos and streams saved my life and this is my way of thanking him. Tattoos not finished just yet, gonna add a ladder crushing a snake 🙂