Matrikas – “ The mother goddesses”

Photo of Matrikas – “ The mother goddesses” by Vanshika Rastogi
Photo of Matrikas – “ The mother goddesses” 1/1 by Vanshika Rastogi
From left to right (Yami,Brahmani,Shivani,kaumari)

Matrikas are a group of mother goddesses who are always depicting together in Hinduism.When depicted in a group of seven, they are called “Saptamatrikas” while in a group of eight they are called “Ashtamatrikas”.This is the sculpture of “Ashtamatrikas” which belongs to the Pratihara Dynasty.Let’s have a glance on the features of these Matrikas.


The name “Yami” comes from “Yama” aka “The god of death”.The relation between Yama and Yami is controversial.Some folklores say that they were twins and Yami fell in love with Yama.She proposed him but he refused.This conversation is depicted in the 10th verse of the 10th Mandala in the Rigveda. While , some folklores say that they married to each other but did not have any sexual relations. One can recognize “Yami” with a “Danda” or stick in hand.


The goddess Brahmani has similar features as “Brahma”.She holds a Kamandalu (water pot), lotus stalk or a book.Sometimes she is also seen holding a rosary or noose.She is often distinguished by her basket shaped crown called “Karanda mukuta”.


Being the wife of Lord Shiva, Shivani is often seen with a “Damru”, trident and “panapatra”(Drinking vessel). She is also known as Parvati.


Kaumari is usually seen holding a spear,an axe,a tanka(silver coin) and bow.One can also recognize her by a cylindrical crown she wear.

From left to right(Vaishnavi,Varahi,Indrani,Chamundi)

Photo of National Museum, Janpath Road, Rajpath Area, Central Secretariat, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Vanshika Rastogi


With her two arms in Varada mudra(blessing hand gesture) and Abhaya mudra(no fear gesture),she is seen holding a conch.Sometimes she also holds discus,mace,lotus,bow and sword.


Similar to the Varaha , Varahi is the female form of the Vishnu.She has a boar head and carries a bell, chakra , chamara(yak’s tail) or bow.She also wears a crown called “Karanda mukuta”.


Being the wife of Indra, she is armed with thunderbolt,goad,noose and lotus stalk.


She is usually depicted standing on a corpse of a man. Mostly seen wearing a garland of skulls,she is also known as "kali".

Matrikas have different names in different regions.In Nepal, the 8th Matrika is called "Mahalaxmi".Puranas like Matya Purana, Varmana Purana,Varaha Purana and Kurma Purana also discusses about the "Matrikas".

Monuments where the Matrikas can be found :

Rockcut shrine of Parhari,Madhya Pradesh; Varahi temple,Chausath(Orrcha);Saptamatrika temple located near Baitarani River, in Jajpur;shrine of the "Seven Mothers" in Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu;Panchalingeshvara temple in Karnataka.