Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji – Gujarat

This article is part 3 of 9 in the series "Shamlaji Temple"

Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji are wonder and masterpiece of sculpture art. Matrika are the goddesses of war, war and prosperity. Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda and Narasimhi are the eight goddesses – the Ashta Matrika!

Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

In northern Gujarat, worshipping Ashta Matrikas is prominent, Shamlaji temple is not an exception to the same. Sara Schastok focuses in detail on Ashta Matrika groups here in her book ‘Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India‘ which was published in 1985. Ashta Matrika can be seen three different sets in the temple of Shamlaji.

Brahmani - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Brahmani – Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Brahmani or Brahmi ( ब्रह्माणी / ब्राह्मी):

Brahmani - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Goddess Brahmani

Brahmani, one of the Ashta Matrika, represents the shakti of Lord Brahma. Brahma the creator and his power the Brahmani!

Karanda Mukuta (करंड मुकुट), the basket shaped crown, is an unique feature of the goddess. Rosary in one hand, Kamandalu (कमंडलू) – the water pot in other.

Hamsa, the Swan, is the mount of Brahmani and can be seen near her right leg in the sculpture at Shamlaji temple.

Four handed goddess bears a flag in one of her left hand.


Vaishnavi (वैष्णवीं)

Vaishnavi - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Goddess Vaishnavi

Vaishnavi is the shakti of Lord Vishnu, the power of the preserver himself!

Just like Lord Vishnu, you can see the devi Vaishnavi carrying Shankha, Chakra and the Gada.

Lord Vishnu’s mount, the Garuda, is the mount for Goddess Vaishnavi as well. Garuda is sitting right under devi’s left leg in a human form.

One of the hand of the devi Vaishnavi is in abhay mudra, blessing her devotees.

Maheshwari (माहेश्वरी)

Maheshvari - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji


Maheshwari is the shakti of the Lord Shiva, the destroyer! The power of the one who powers the entire universe.

Trishula (trident) and Snake in the hands as weapons, and one hand in abhay mudra with Akshmala (a garland of beads) at the same time.

Lord Shiva is known as Maheshwar or Mahesh, so his power is Maheshwari. Devi Maheshwari is also prayed as Rudrani, Raudri and Maheshi. Again, Rudra is another name of Lord Shiva.

Maheshi’s mount is the great bull Nandi which is also a mount of Lord Shiva.


Yami or Varahi (यमी / वराही)

Yami - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Yami – Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Yami - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Goddess Yami

With Yami name, she is the power Yama, the god of the death and with Varahi name, she is the power of boar-headed Varaha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Danda, the rod of punishment, in her right hand and other hand in blessing mudra is a perfect balance required for life, to keep things in place.

Buffalo, the mount of Yama, is a mount of Devi Yami as well. Karanda mukuta, her crown, adds beauty to the goddess.



Indrani (इंद्राणी)

Indrani - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Goddess Indrani

Indrani is the power of the Indra, the lord of the heaven. Goddess is also known as Aindri, Mahendri, Shakri, Shachi and Vajri.

Wearing Kirita Mukuta, Devi Indrani holds the Vajra (the thunderbolt) in her hand.

Airavat, the divine elephant, is the mount of the goddess along with the Lord Indra himself.

Indrani’s sculpture is one of the rarest in the temples.


Kaumari or Ambika (कौमारी / अंबिका)

Kaumari - Ashta Matrika of Shamlaji

Kaumari Devi

Kaumari is the power of god Kartikeya, the Kumara and the Skanda. Also known as Kumari, Karttikeyani and Ambika, devi is the goddess of the war.

Mayura, the peacock, is the mount of the goddess Kaumari, so as the god Kartikeya. In the picture, you can the Mayura near the goddess.

Kaumari holds spear (well.. she is the War God) and Tanka (siver coins) and wears cylindrical crown on her head.



Other Matrika at Shamlaji Temple

Read more about Shamlaji Temple:

Series Navigation<< Sculptures of Shamlaji Temple – GujaratKrishna Leelas at Shamlaji – Gujarat >>

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