This book provides a detailed history of Hindu goddess traditions with a special focus on the local goddesses of Andhra Pradesh, past and present. The antiquity and the evolution of these goddess traditions are illustrated and documented with the help of archaeological reports, literary sources, inscriptions and art. Tracing the symbols and images of goddess into the brahmanical (Saiva and Vaisnava), Buddhist, and Jaina religious traditions, the book argues effectively how and with what motivations goddesses and their symbolizations were appropriated and transformed. The book also examines the evolution of popular Hindu goddesses such as Durga and Kali, discussing their tribal and agricultural backgrounds. It also deals extensively with how and in what circumstances women are deified and shows how these deified women cults share characteristics with the village goddesses.
Sree Padma is the executive director of the Inter-Collegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program, a study abroad program in Sri Lanka. She also teaches at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, offering courses on the cultural history of south Asia. She is the author of Costume, Coiffure, and Ornament in the Temple Sculpture of Northern Andhra (1991) and the co-editor of Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra (2008).