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For other uses of "Durga", see Durga (disambiguation).
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Goddess of Victory of Good over Evil
Durga Mahisasuramardini.JPG
Devanagari दुर्गा
Sanskrit Transliteration Durgā
Affiliation Devi, Mother Goddess,Divine Mother, Adi-Parashakti, Goddess Shakti, manifestation of Mahashakti
Abode Shivaloka (Mount Kailasa/Kashi), Manidvipa, as Shakti(Energy) in whole Universe
Mantra ॐ दुं दुर्गायै नमः (Sanskrit for:Oṃ Duṃ Durgāyai Namaḥ)
देवी मबात्म्याम् (Devi Mahatmyam-"Glory of the goddess" also known as Saptashati or simply as Chandi Path
মহালযা(bengali for-Mahalaya)
Weapon trident, discus, scimitar, lasso, conch shell, mace, bow and arrow, spear, sword (longsword), shield, bell, pink lotus flower, battle-axe, thunderbolt, elephant goad, snake, rod, spade, vajra, goblet, hammer weapon, iron weapon, weapon made out of thorns, javelin, dagger
Consort Shiva
Mount lion or tiger

Durga (Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈd̪ʊrɡaː], Sanskrit: दुर्गा Durgā "Invincible"[1]) is the principle form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti in Hinduism.[2] Durga the mahashakti, the form and formless, is the root cause of creation, preservation and annihilation. According to legend, Durga Manifested herself for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura from Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lesser gods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him. She is pure Shakti, having manifested herself within the gods so that she may fulfil the tasks of the universe via them. At times of distress, such as the mahishasura episode, to protect the universe she manifests herself via the gods.

Origins and development[edit]

Ramprasad Chanda writes the following about the development of Durga from primitive goddess to her current form: [3]

...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 civilization 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 delusion of the supreme soul is otherwise called Shakti (power). From this power, generates all forms of knowledge of the world and it is accepted as vital cause of creation, existence and destruction. According to 'Shree Durga Shaptshati- Rahasyam', the original power is Mahalaxmi that created three pairs of Supreme Powers. They are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as male and Saraswati, Laxmi and Parvati as female, and they married respectively. Maha Saraswati is well known as Brahmani, Mahalaxmi as Vaishnavi and Mahakali as Maheswari. Durga Shakti is the original cause of all the present or past worldly occurrences. Durga Shakti is called as Adhyashakti, Paramatma Shakti or Ati Prakrutika Shakti. She is creating and controlling other two powers: Natural and General. Natural Power is called as Atma Shakti, Prakrutika Shakti, Pancha Mahabhuta Shakti etc. This Shakti creates and controls the General Energy. General Energies are called Jada Shakti or Tamashakti. By the blessings of Durga Shakti, the mother of the Universe, man is able to get his emancipation or salvation and indulge in enjoyments in performance of his daily activities. So Vyasadev, the eminent poet of "Devi Bhagwat", has aptly described "Rudrahinam Vishnuhinam na vadanti janastatha Shaktihinam Yathasarbe probodhanti Naradhamam". The powerless persons are despised as mean persons. So, by being devoted to the Supreme, we should be strong and powerful by her grace.


Shiva Purana gives an account of the origin of Durga. At the beginning of time, Lord Shiva invoked Durga, the primordial energy from his left half to create. Together they created their eternal abode, Shivaloka, also known as Kashi. Thereafter, they created Vishnu and Brahma.

Durga on a lion

As per Shiva Purana and Devi Mahatmyah, Mahishasura, the son of demon Rambha, unleashed reign of terror on earth. When gods intervened, Mahishasura defeated gods and banished them from heaven. Vanquished gods went to Trideva- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As they narrated their woeful tale, immense mass of light manifested from Lord Vishnu's mouth, which was joined by similar rays that emerged from the enraged faces of gods. This mass of light transformed into a woman. Then all the Gods gave their divine weapon to that supreme power. Adishakti re-manifested as Durga to slay Mahishasura. Armed with celestial weapons of all deities and decked with divine ornaments, Durga rode into the battle field and challenged demons for battle. Mahishasura's entire army, led by demons like Chikshur, Chamar, Asiloma, Vidalaksha, Durdhara, Durmukha, Mahahanu and many more attacked Durga at once. But Durga slew all of them with unparalleled cruelty. An enraged Mahishasura attacked Durga in guise of a buffalo. But Durga bound it with ropes. The buffalo morphed into a lion and leapt on Durga, but she beheaded it with her sword. At this, Mahishasura began to fight in form of a swordsman. Durga pinned him down with a torrent of arrows. Mahishasura now assumed form of a giant elephant and tugged at Durga's lion. Durga lopped off its trunk with her sword and freed her lion. The elephant turned into a buffalo and charged at Durga. Sipping from her wine cup, Durga flung her trident and beheaded Mahishasura, finally killing him.


Main article: Durga Puja
A 51 seconds sample of Durga Puja Mantra recited in Sanskrit.

Problems playing this file? See media help.
Maa Durga
A traditional Durga idol at a pandal in Kolkata.

The four-day-long (Saptami to Dashami) Durga Puja is the biggest annual festival in Bengal, Assam, Odisha, 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.

An idol of Durga Pooja, comprising Goddess Durga, her daughters Laxmi, Saraswati and her sons Ganesha, Karitik

The day of Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijayadashami (Bijoya in Bengali), Dashain (Nepali) or Dussehra (in Hindi) – these words literally mean "the Victory on the Tenth (day)".[4]

In Andhra Pradesh she is also worshipped as Kanaka Durgammathalli,where there is also famous temple for Goddess Kanaka Durga in Indrakeeladri,Vijayawada.She is also known by the name of Chandi Bhavani.

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).[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] In South India especially, Andhra Pradesh Dussera Navaratri is also celebrated and the goddess is dressed each day as a different devi – Shailputri Bramhacharini chandi chandraghantaetc. – 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 Mysore (which originated from Mahishasooru) in Karnataka, she is worshipped as Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the city during Dussehra (Dasara).

In Gujarat it is celebrated as the last day of Navaratri, during which the Garba dance is performed to celebrate the victory of Mahishasura-mardini, Durga.

The Goddess Durga is worshipped in her peaceful form as Maha Gauri, The Fair Lady, Shree Shantadurga also known as Santeri, is the patron Goddess of Goa. She is worshipped by all Goan Hindus.

In Maharashtra, Tulja Bhavani, Hedavde Mahalaxmi and Ambabai are worshipped as Mahishasur Mardini, who is the patron goddess of the land. Bhavani is known as Tulaja, Amba,[8] 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.[9] After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement.

Western references[edit]

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.[10][11] 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[edit]

In India[edit]

Image of Durga in a small temple next to Rewalsar Lake, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Deopani Temple, in Golaghat district, Assam
Andhra Pradesh
  • [12] Arasuri Ambaji Temple in Gujarat
  • Umiya Mataji Temple at Unjha & Sidsar
  • Kali Mataji Temple in Pavagadh
  • Chamunda Mataji in Chotila
Himachal Pradesh


Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal

Outside India[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Durga,". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/durga.htm#.U1-IhlfznYQ
  3. ^ McDaniel, June (2004). Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516791-0. p. 214.
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Parmita Borah (2 October 2011). "Durga Puja – a Celebration of Female Supremacy". EF News International. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Kolabou". Bangalinet.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  8. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 64. 
  9. ^ "Article on Durga Puja". 
  10. ^ Jörg Breu d. Ä. zugeschrieben, Idol von Calicut, in: Ludovico de Varthema, 'Die Ritterlich und lobwürdig Reisz', Strassburg 1516. (Bild: Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Ambaji
  13. ^ http://www.durgadevitemplevengoor.com/contact_us.php
  14. ^ http://wikimapia.org/811725/NAVA-DURGA-MANDIR

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]