Parvati, wife of Shiva, is a goddess who blesses everyone with a happy married life. As already mentioned, the union of Shiva and Parvati is the ideal that Hindu couples – particularly women –aspire to have.
Since Parvati was an incrarnation of Gauri, daughter of Daksh, her name is derived from the Sanskrit word parvata, meaning mountain. Parvati can therefore be taken to mean the lady of the mountains, will and action. These attribute make her the Mother of the Universe.
Just as Shiva changes form to be both benevolent and destructive, Parvati, too, changes form. She is also called Durga, since
she killed the demon Durg. As a representation of the divine universal power, she is called Shakti. In her destructive form, she is the fearsome yet benevolent Kali. People worship her in many forms, in all of which she is the combined strength of some or all the gods.
Parvati is the mild form of goddess. She is usually seen sitting on Shiva’s left, in which depiction she has two hands, the right one holding the blue lotus, and her left hand hanging casually by the side. When alone, she is shown with four hands. With two hands she holds a blue and red lotus, while the other two hands offer protection and blessings. She is sometimes seen holding a conch shell or a chakra, both of which are symbols of Vishnu and could mean that he is part of power of Shiva.
Young women aspire to have a married life like Parvati’s and offer har prayers that they may find a suitable husband who will shower them with love and care. In the Ramayan, Sita is known to have prayed at the gauri temple just before the swayamvar. It was her secret desire that Sri Ram should string Shiva’s bow and thereby win her hand in marriage.
Parvati always appears sitting or standing on Shiva’s left side. Since Shiva is mostly worshipped in the form of Linga, Parvati is positioned on one side. The temples that are dedicated to her exclusively are not in her form as Parvati, but several other forms. Her forms as Durga and Kali are widely used in exclusive temples visited by millions of devotees each year.
Every year during Navratri (nine nights) that last ten days, twice a year, her devotees fast and offer prayers to her as durga.