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Abodes of Shakti >> Kaali

Gowri the benevolent is a total contrast to Kaali the terrible. Kaali is regarded as the destroyer or devourer of evil.

Legend has it that Skanda the son of Shiva when engaged in a fierce battle with the demon Raktabheeja sought Kaali's help. Such was the power of the demon that a drop of blood spilled from his body would result in countless demons being produced. Kaali solved the problem by devouring every single drop of blood that fell from the demon's body even prior to its touching the ground.

Legend has it that Kaali adorned herself with a garland of skulls; intoxicated with the demon's blood she engaged in a dance of victory, destroying all that crossed her path.

Legend has it that Shiva appeared in front of her and challenged her to a dance duel, in which she faced defeat and regained her sobriety. (See Tiruvaalangaadu associated with the legend of the dance duel between Kaali and Shiva Nataraja).

Yet another legend has it that Shiva took the form of a corpse and lay down in her path. Kaali's collision with this obstruction shook her to senses. With her foot on the corpse she breathed life back to Shiva after which Kaali regained the form of Gowri the benevolent.

Kaali in her fearful form associated with cremation grounds and corpses stands as a reminder of the inevitability of death and decay.

The Kaalighat temple at Calcutta is amongst the best known of Kaali temples in India.

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