Parvati The Consort of Shiva
Parvati, the consort of Shiva, is represented as a fair and beautiful woman, with no superfluity of limbs. Few miraculous deeds are claimed for her. It is only when she appears as Durga, Kali, etc., that she manifests divine powers and exhibits a very different spirit.
As Kali she became an ascetic whose severe penances were intended to attract the attention of Shiva. When Shiva teased her about her black skin, through penances she had her colour changed to that of gold and was then called Gauri.
Parvati is not important enough to be worshipped alone but only as a minor deity in a Shiva temple. Between the 5th and the 13th centuries, from being merely the consorts of the male deities, and their active partners, female deities (shakti) became independent and objects of worship in their own right having a temple in which they were the main icons. It was around this time that Parvati, from a minor deity as a consort of Shiva, became a major deity as Durga and Kali. When Parvati is shown alone, she may hold a javelin and a mirror in her two hands. If she is four handed, two of her hands exhibit the protection and boon-giving attitudes and two carry a javelin and a chisel.
In the illustration facing this page, Parvati is seen doing a penance to attract the attention of Shiva.