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Ardhanarishvara is a composite androgynous (or genderless) form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati. Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. Ardhanarishvara represents the union of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation.