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River Goddesses
(4,982 words)

Rivers in India are almost all feminine in gender. They are treated ritually as women, appear in stories as female persons, and have many iconographic and narrative associations with cows. Almost universally in India, rivers’ names are grammatically feminine. In addition, there are numerous goddesses who live in or personify rivers. The earliest evidence of this pattern is found in the Vedas, where the Sarasvatī is both a goddess and a river (e.g. ṚV. 2.41.…

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Feldhaus, Anne, “River Goddesses”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 22 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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