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Kotravai

Context

A team of archaeologists discovered an eighth-century Kotravai sculpture near Ulundurpet, in Tamil Nadu dating back to the Pallava period.

Kotravai

Kotravai, also spelled Kotravai or Korravai, is a multifaceted goddess in the Tamil tradition, holding significant roles in various aspects of life. Here’s a breakdown of her different representations:

 

Goddess of War and Victory:

  • Depicted as a fierce warrior, often depicted riding a lion or tiger, bearing weapons like swords, spears, and shields.
  • Her name itself derives from the Tamil word “korram,” meaning “victory, success, bravery.”
  • Invoked for success in battles and struggles, offering strength and courage to warriors.

 

Mother Goddess:

  • Embodies the nurturing and protective qualities of motherhood.
  • Associated with fertility, abundance, and agricultural prosperity.
  • Traditional rural communities offer the first harvest to her in gratitude.
  • Sometimes considered the mother of the Tamil god Murugan.
  • Linked to hunting and wilderness, revered by communities like hunters and gatherers.
  • Some associate her with aspects of nature like mountains, forests, and storms.
  • Recognized under various epithets and names across different regions, such as Atha, Mari, Suli, and Neeli. 

    Significance in Tamil Culture:

    • Kotravai holds a prominent place in ancient Tamil literature, appearing in works like the epic Silappadikaram and the Sangam poems.
    • Her portrayal reflects the values and beliefs of Tamil society, emphasizing strength, resilience, and connection to nature.

     Even today, she is worshipped by some communities and continues to inspire artistic expressions like sculptures and paintings.