Goddess Parvati – The Shakti (Maheshwari)

Goddess Parvati is regarded to be the Hindu goddess of devotion, love and fertility, including that of divine power and strength. She is Hindu Goddess Shakti’s nurturing and gentle aspect while being among the central deities of Shakta sect. In Hinduism, she is mother goddess while having several aspects and attributes. A different name has been given to her, associated with her different aspects. She is known to have more than 100 names. She forms the Hindu goddess trinity along with Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Learning and Knowledge) and Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth).

Goddess Parvati

Relation with Lord Shiva

She is considered to be Lord Shiva’s wife and daughter of Mountain King Himavan and Mena, her mother. She is a mother to Kartikeya and Ganesha. She is also believed by some communities to be God Vishnu’s sister and of Ganga, the River Goddess.

She is regarded to be a central deity among the Shaiva sect along with Shiva, the destroyer. According to Hindu beliefs, she is Shiva’s recreative power and energy, as well as the cause of the bond, which connects every being, including the meaning of spiritual release. She has been symbolically represented in the Hindu temples as yoni or argha. One can come across statues depicting her all over South East Asia and South Asia.

Her affiliations are Tripura Sundari, Maa Durga, Kali Mata, Devi, Shakti, Adi Parashakti and Tridevi. Her abode is in Mount Kailash along with Lord Shiva, her consort. Nandi (bull), lion and tiger, are her mounts.

Nomenclature and Etymology

Parvata stands for the mountain in the Sanskrit language, which means she belongs to the mountains. The other names that associate Parvati with the mountains are Adrija, Nagajaa, Shailaputri, Shailaja, Haimavathi, Girirajaputri or Girija.

The Lalita Sahasranama is known to comprise about 1,000 names for Parvati. Aparna and Uma are two of the famous epithets. The name ‘Uma’ has been used for Sati according to the ancient texts. However, in the Ramayana, Sati has been used as Parvati’s synonym. She is also called Shakti (power), Ambika (dear mother), Maheshwari (great goddess), Mataji (revered mother), Bhavani (birthing and fertility), Bhairavi (ferocious), Shivaradni (Lord Shiva’s queen) including other hundred names. She is also termed to be the goddess of devotion and love or goddess of fertility (Kamakshi) or Annapurna, nourishment/food and abundance.

She is addressed as Gauri or the fair one and Shyama or Kali, the dark one.

Important temples of  Mata parvati

There are several temples dedicated to Parvati and Shiva. Few locations (Shaktipeths or Pithas) have been considered to be special and auspicious due to their legends and historical importance. The other locations are said to celebrate the major events, which have taken place in her life.

Khajuraho’s World Heritage Site is an important temple site, an important one along with Gaya, Kashi and Kedarnath. It is also the place where Shiva and Parvati got married according to Hindu mythology.

Some of the important temples are Maanikyambika Bhimeswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Banashankari Temple in Karnataka, Meenakshi Amman Temple in Tamil Nadu, Tulja Bhavani Temple in Maharashtra, Tripura Sundari Temple in Tripura, etc.