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|Goddess of Victory of Good over Evil|
|Affiliation||Devi, Mother Goddess, Form of Parvati/Adi Shakti, Goddess Shakti, manifestation of Adi Parashakti|
|Abode||Forest of Madamba Kadamba|
|Mantra||Om Durgaye Namaha / Om Aim Hreem Kleem Durga Devi Namaha|
Conch shell, Mace, Bow and arrow, spear, sword (longsword), shield, bell, pink lotus flower, battle-axe, thunderbolt, elephant goad, lasso, snake, rod, spade, vajra, goblet, hammer weapon, iron weapon, weapon made out of thorns, javelin, dagger
|Mount||lion or tiger|
Goddess Durga (Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈd̪uːrɡaː]; Sanskrit: दुर्गा), meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; durga) is the most popular incarnation of Devi and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon.
Origins and evolution
Ramprasad Chanda writes the following about the evolution of Durga from primitive goddess to her current form.
- "...it is possible to distinguish two different strata – one primitive and the other advanced. The primitive form of Durga is the result of syncretism of a mountain-goddess worshiped by the dwellers of the Himalaya and the Vindhyas, a goddess worshiped by the nomadic Abhira shepherd, the vegetation spirit conceived as a female, and a war-goddess. As her votaries advanced in civilisation the primitive war-goddess was transformed into the personification of the all-destroying time (Kali), the vegetation spirit into the primordial energy (Adya Sakti) and the saviouress from “samsara” (cycle of rebirths) , and gradually brought into line with the Brahmanic mythology and philosophy."
The myth of Durga runs as follows: The demon Mahishasura did penance, and in return Shiva blessed him so that no man or god could kill him, only a woman. This emboldened Mahishasura, who became troublesome throughout the world, even conquering the gods in the heavens. The trinity of gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu decided to create a woman to defeat him, and together, combining their energies, they created Durga. They gave her their weapons, too: Shiva gave her the trident, Vishnu a disc, Varuna a conch and noose, Agni a spear, Vayu arrows, Indra the thunderbolt, Yama a sword and shield, Vishvakarma an axe and armour, Himavat a lion, and the other gods many other beautiful gifts. Durga went to battle with Mahishasura, easily destroying his armies. Taking the form of a buffalo, he charged Durga's soldiers. Durga's lion fought the buffalo, and Durga slipped her noose over its neck. Mahishasura changed into the form of a lion; Durga cut its head off; Mahishasura changed into the form of a man; Durga showered him with arrows; Mahishasura changed into an elephant; Durga cut its tusk with her sword. Finally, Mahishasura turned back into a buffalo. Using her ten arms, Durga pinned him to the ground, impaled him with her trident, and beheaded him with her sword. He died, and his army scattered.
Relationship with Kali
The Goddess Kali is a darker form of Adi Shakti, Parvati or Durga. They work together in battles, killing many demons and the demon kings, Shumbha and Nishumbha; for Raktabeej, Durga had to invoke the nine Matrikas from her.
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The four-day-long (Saptami to Dashami) Durga Puja is the biggest annual festival in Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Nepal, where it is known as Dashain. It is celebrated likewise with much fervour in various parts of India, especially the Himalayan region, but is celebrated in various forms throughout the Hindu universe.
In Kashmir she is worshipped as shaarika (the main temple is in Hari Parbat in Srinagar).
The actual period of the worship however may be on the preceding nine days (Navaratri) followed by the last day called Vijayadashami in North India or five days in Bengal (from the sixth to tenth day of the waxing-moon fortnight). Nine aspects of Durga known as Navadurga are meditated upon, one by one during the nine-day festival by devout Shakti worshippers. Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva, who is Durga's consort (Durga is an aspect of Goddess Parvati), in addition to Lakshmi, Saraswati with Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are considered to be Durga's children. Worship of mother nature is done, through nine types of plant (called "Kala Bou"), including a plantain (banana) tree, which represent nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. In South India especially, Andhra Pradesh Dussera Navaratri is also celebrated and the goddess is dressed each day as a different devi – Saraswati, Parvati, Lakshmi etc. – for the nine days.
In North India, the tenth day, is celebrated as Dussehra, the day Rama emerged victorious in his battle against the demon, Ravana – gigantic straw effigies of Ravana are burnt in designated open spaces (e.g. Delhi's Ram Lila grounds), watched by thousands of families and little children.
In Maharashtra, Tulja Bhavani and Ambabai are worshipped as Mahishasur Mardini, who is the patron goddess of the land. Bhavani is known as Tulaja, Amba, Renuka, Yamai Saptshrungi and Jogai in different places of Maharashtra. She is the inspirational goddess of Raja Shivaji. As per legends, Bhavani appeared after Shivaji prayed to her and blessed him to be able to make Hindustan or the then India (ruled by the Mughals) independent – the kingdom he established eventually became the Hindu Pad Padshahi (sometimes also called the Maratha Empire), which comprised all the land ruled by the Mughals and brought India back under Hindu sovereignty.
In Bangladesh also, the four-day long Sharadiya Durga Puja (Bengali: শারদীয়া দুর্গা পুজো, ‘autumnal Durga worship’) is the biggest religious festivals for the Hindus and celebrated across the country with Vijayadashami being a national holiday.
The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal. After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement.
Some early Western accounts refer to a deity known as Deumus, Demus or Deumo. Western (Portuguese) sailors first came face to face with the murti of Deumus at Calicut on the Malabar Coast and they concluded it to be the deity of Calicut. Deumus is sometimes interpreted as an aspect of Durga in Hindu mythology and sometimes as deva.
It is described that the ruler of Calicut (Zamorin) had a murti of Deumus in his temple inside his royal palace. The temple was two paces wide in each of the four sides and three paces high, with a wooden door covered with gods carved in relief. At the centre of the temple, there was a metal idol of Deumus placed in a seat, which was also made of metal.
Western accounts also describe the ruler of Calicut worshiping an ultimate god called Tamerani ("Tamburan"). The accounts also describes a misunderstood form of the "hook-swinging" ritual once commonly performed as part of some popular Hindu religious festivals.
Notable temples of Durga
- Shanta Durga temple in Goa
- Bala Sundari Temple Trilokpur in District Sirmaur Himachal Pradesh
- Shoolini devi temple at Solan Himachal Pradesh
- Bahu Fort Temple in Jammu
- Bala Sundri Temple in Billawar Jammu
- ChiChi Mata Temple in Jammu
- Kol Kandoli Temple in Jammu
- Mahamaya Temple in Jammu
- Sukrala Mata Temple in Jammu
- Vaishno Devi Temple in Katra Jammu
- Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore Karnataka
- Kateel Durgaparameshwari Temple, near Mangalore, Karnataka
- Kollur Sri mookambika Temple, near Udupi, Karnataka
- Adichikkavu Sree Durga Devi Kshetram, Pandanad, Kerala
- Ammathiruvadi Temple, Thrissur, Kerala, India
- Vengoor Sree Durga Devi Temple, near Perumbavoor- Kerala
- Kumaranalloor Devi Temple, Kottayam, Kerala
- Bhagavathinada Sree Durga Temple, Venganoor, Trivandrum, Kerala
- Sankhumugham Durga Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala
- Aruvikkara Durga Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala
- Biraja Temple, Jajpur, Odisha
- Durga Temple, Baideshwar, Odisha
- Katak Chandi Temple, Cuttack, Odisha
- Kichakeshwari Temple, Odisha
- Manikeshwari Temple, Bhawanipatna, Odisha.
- Ambika Mata Temple in the village of Jagat near Mount Abu in Rajasthan
- Shila Devi temple at Amber, Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Kanak Durga Temple, Chikligarh, Medinipur, West Bengal
- Nava Durga Temple, Kolkata, West Bengal
- Tarakeswar, Hooghly District, West Bengal
- Tarapith, Birbhum, West Bengal
- Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Prambanan Temple, Indonesia
- Sri Santha Durga Devi Army Camp in Sungai Petani, Malaysia
- Sri Thurgha Parameswary Amman Alayam, Kampung Tumbuk Pantai, Tanjong Sepat,in Selangor, Malaysia
In her aspect of Kali
- Belur Math, Kolkata, West Bengal
- Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata, West Bengal
- Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal
- "Durga,". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
- McDaniel, June (2004). Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516791-0. Pp. 214.
- "Mythology of Durga Puja". Society for Confluence of Festivals in India. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- Esposito, John L.; Darrell J. Fasching, Todd Vernon Lewis (2007). Religion & globalization: world religions in historical perspective. Oxford University Press. p. 341. ISBN 0-19-517695-2.
- Parmita Borah (2 October 2011). "Durga Puja – a Celebration of Female Supremacy". EF News International. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- Kinsley, David (1988). Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06339-2. p. 95.
- "Kolabou". Bangalinet.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- "Article on Durga Puja".
- "Article on Durga Puja". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- Jörg Breu d. Ä. zugeschrieben, Idol von Calicut, in: Ludovico de Varthema, 'Die Ritterlich und lobwürdig Reisz', Strassburg 1516. (Bild: Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
- A briefe collection and compendious extract of straunge and memorable thinges, gathered out of the Cosmographye of Sebastian Munster, wherein is made a plaine description of diuers and straunge lawes, rites, maners and properties of sondrye nations, and a short report of straunge histories of diuers men, and of the nature and properties of certaine fovvles, fishes, beastes, monsters, and sondry countryes and places, published in London in 1574 by Tomas Marshe
- "Stone sculpture of Durga Mahishasuramardini". British Museum. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
- Amazzone, Laura (2010). Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power. University Press of America, Lanham. ISBN 0761853146.
- Bandyopadhyay, Pranab (1993). Mother Goddess Durga. United Writers, Calcutta. ISBN 81-85328-13-7.
- Kinsley, David (1986). Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., Delhi. ISBN 81-208-0379-5.
- Sen Ramprasad (1720–1781). Grace and Mercy in Her Wild Hair: Selected Poems to the Mother Goddess. Hohm Press. ISBN 0-934252-94-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Durga.|
- Official Website of Kanaka Durgamma Temple
- Durga Puja at NetGlimse.com
- Durga Puja (calcuttaweb.com)
- Durga at the Open Directory Project
- 108 names of Durga from the Durgāsaptaśatī