Durga - a manifestation of Shakti is
held in worship all over India. Durga is regarded as the invincible power of nature and
is associated with the legend of the destruction of the demon Mahishasura.
Legend has it that a bufallo faced demon by name Mahishasura caused untold suffering to
the beings on earth and the heavens. The demon Mahisha was unstoppable by Skanda, the general of Gods - or Vishnu
in the form of Narasimha or Varaaha
or by Shiva.
It was only nature's unbridled energy that could conquer the demon. Legend has it that the
shakti from Bhramha's self emerged as Bhrahmi and the
from other Gods Vishnu, Shiva, Narasimha, Varaaha, Kumara and Indra - arose the female
goddesses Vaishnavi, Shivani, Narasimhani, Vaaraahi, Kaumaari and
Indraayani. The seven of these Shaktis are collectively known as the Sapta
Maatas, or the seven mothers. Village shrines dedicated to the seven mothers are
seen commonly in the southern state of Tamilnadu. Shrines dedicated to the sapta maatas
are also seen in the outer precincts of aagamic temples.
The seven mothers merged together to form Durga - the powerful. Durga is
regarded as Shakti - the power the enables existence, Maayaa the illusion
and Prakriti - that which gives shapes and forms to objects of existence. Durga armed
herself with Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus and mace, Kumaraa's spear and Indra's
Bewitched the beauty and power of Durga, the demon sent out two of his attendants Chanda
and Munda to seek her hand in marriage and Durga vanquished both of them.
A fierce battle ensued between Mahishasura and Durga at the end of which the demon was
The destruction of the demon Mahishasura by Durga is commemorated during the nine day Navaratri
festival in autumn. A shrine to Durga adorns the north facing niche of
all Saivite temples in Tamilnadu. The Mahishaasuramardhini temple atop Chamundi hills in Mysore is one of
the well visited temples in Karnataka. Durga Parameswari was held in great reverence by
the Imperial Cholas of Tamilnadu. .