Yakshi is a female earthly spirit symbolizing fertility. Her references are found in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythologies. Her sculptures have even been found in the excavations done in the site of the Indus Valley Civilization. She is often referred to as mother goddess. She is also referred in some mythologies as a guardian spirit appointed by Lord Indra
to take care of the treasures buried in the earth and the roots of trees. She along with her male counterpart,
, are revered as deities protecting the cities, lakes or wells.
Her sculpture embellishes numerous temples and stupas (religious stone pillars) around the country. It is said that even if she simply touches a tree it will bear fruit, which indicates her power in imparting fertility.
A Yakshi is always portrayed as a woman with a well-endowed body, which symbolizes the fertility of earth. She is often shown in sculptures holding to the branch of a tree. This famous pose called ‘tribanga’ (three-bend) shows her bending at neck, waist and hip. It depicts the act of giving birth. There is a combined essence of beauty and maternal instinct in this pose.