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Goddess Renuka

Goddess Renuka is associated with the Goddess Yellamma worship in Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Goddess Renuka is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga and is popular in rural culture as the Mother Goddess and is worshipped as Amma, Yellamma, Duggavva, Dyaamavva, and Marikamba. Her name and attributes changes from region to region.

Legend has it that Renuka was the wife of Sage Jamadagni and he suspected her of infidelity and ordered Parashurama to behead her. Lord Parashurama obeyed his father and when Sage Jamadagni wanted to reward his son, Lord Parashurama asked him to bring back his mother. Thus Renuka, the mother of Lord Parashurama, was brought back to life.

This story found numerous interpretations in rural culture and Renuka is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga and in this incarnation, she represented the fate of many rural women who were falsely accused of infidelity or other crimes.

Goddess Renuka performs the role of Mother Goddess and is responsible for the welfare of her devotees, for curing diseases and protecting the cattle. A large number of Goddesses worshipped in rural culture are forms of Goddess Durga. She is given different rural names and characteristics but her role remains the same that of the Mother Goddess.