This article tries to move away from the regular descriptions of Bhadrakāḷi as an invariably violent and bloodthirsty goddess, by proposing a more nuanced portrait based on testimonies collected from worshippers and temple servants and the analysis of the bhāva taxonomy in opposition to other literate and scholarly classifications. While underscoring the simultaneity of pictures of the goddess as encompassing and particularised, it specifically focuses on the second part of the paradigm: the localized incarnations of the goddess with their differing nature, tastes and needs, which are inherent features of her sankalpam in central Kerala that draw justification from the local mythology and play a key role in the liturgy pertaining to specific temples.

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