Sapta Matrikas (12th C AD):

The cult of Sapta-Matrikas or Asta-Matrikas date back to the very ancient times.According to a legend described in Isaanasivagurudevapaddhati, the matrikas were created to help Lord Shiva in his fight against Andhakasura.

All the Matrikas are stated to be sitting in Lalitasana posture; they are adorned with heavy ornaments, necklaces and circular ear-rings. Each has four hands in which they wield the attributes of their male counterparts. Except Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi and Indrani who are adorned with kiritamakuta, the other matrikas have jatamukuta.

1. Brahmi: The first matrika in the series is yellow complecioned and has four heads, three of which are generally visible in her sculptures while the fourth one is at the back. Two of her arms are in Varada and Abhaya gestures, while she holds a pasha, a lotus stalk or kamandalu, in other two hands. For ornaments she wears Akshamala and Kundika. Her vahana is swan.

2.Maheswari: She is white complexioned, has three eyes (Trinetra). In her two upper hands are the damaru and trishula while in the lower two she wields Akshamala and Panapatra or an axe and antelope. Her Vahana is Nandi (Bull).

3. Kaumari: The yellow complexioned goddess has six heads like kartikeya. She holds parasu and Chapa in the upper hands and Shakti and Tanka in the lower ones. At times, two of her hands are depicted in Abhaya and Varada gestures. The peacock is her Vahana.

4.Vaishnavi: She is dark and holds Shankha and Chakra in the two upper hands and gada in the lower right hand, while the lower left hand holds the Padma. She is adorned with resplendent ornaments. Her vahana is Garuda.

5.Vairali: She is also dark complexioned, with human body and boar's head, decorated with Kiritamakuta. Her upper right hand holds a dark Danda or Hala and upper left an Ankusha. The lower right wields a Vajra or a sword, and the lower left has a Panapatra. Her vahana is buffalo.

6. Indrani: or Aindri is dark complexioned. Ankusha and pasa decorate her upper two hands, while the lower holds a lotus stalk, and the left hand vajra. Her vahana is elephant.

7.Chamunda: She is black coloured and has an emaciated body, three eyes, sunken belly and a terrifying face with a grin. As a mother goddess, she is the fertility aspect of Durga. She is shown wearing a mundamala (necklace of severed heads). She has a very heavy jatamakuta tied with a serpent, and her four hands hold damaru, trishula, khadga and panapatra. Her vahana is Jackal.