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India. Sitala Mata, Hindu smallpox goddess

Photo credit: Top: left, n/a; right, WHO, Z Kareem. Bottom: left, LA Henderson; right, n/a
Source: Top: left, DA Henderson; right, WHO 1988, Smallpox and Its Eradication. Bottom: left, DA Henderson; right, WHO Photo Library #A-011047


Sitala Mata is the Hindu goddess of smallpox. She was worshipped primarily in northern India by both Hindus and Buddhists under many name variants. Numerous temples were dedicated to her. Traditionally she was mounted on a donkey and carried a whisk broom and water pot. Her name indicates a cooling mother.