Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा, IAST: Durgā), identified as Adi Parashakti, is a principal and popular form of Hindu Goddess. She is the warrior goddess, whose mythology centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity and dharma of the good. She is the fierce form of the protective mother goddess, willing to unleash her anger against wrong, violence for liberation and destruction to empower creation.
Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a Goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon, often defeating Mahishasura (lit. buffalo demon). The three principle forms of Durga worshiped are Maha Durga, Chandika and Aparajita. Of these, Chandika has two forms called Chandi who is of the combined power and form of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati and of Chamunda who is a form of Kali created by the goddess for killing demons Chanda and Munda. Maha Durga has three forms: Ugrachanda, Bhadrakali and Katyayani. Bhadrakali Durga is also worshiped in the form of her nine epithets called Navadurga.
She is a central deity in Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, where she is equated with the concept of ultimate reality called Brahman. One of the most important texts of Shaktism is Devi Mahatmya, also known as Durgā Saptashatī or Chandi patha, which celebrates Durga as the goddess, declaring her as the supreme being and the creator of the universe. Estimated to have been composed between 400 and 600 CE, this text is considered by Shakta Hindus to be as important a scripture as the Bhagavad Gita. She has a significant following all over India, Bangladesh and Nepal, particularly in its eastern states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and Bihar. Durga is revered after spring and autumn harvests, specially during the festival of Navratri.
Durga as Mahishasura-Mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon
|Affiliation||Adi-Parashakti, Sati, Parvati, Ambika, Katyayani, Kaushiki|
|Weapon||Chakra (discus), Shankha (conch shell), Trishula (Trident), Gada (mace), Bow and Arrow, Scimitar and Shield, Ghanta (bell)|
|Mount||Tiger or Lion|
|Festivals||Durga Puja, Durga Ashtami, Navratri|
|Children||Kartikeya, Ganesha, Ashok Sundari|
The word Durga (दुर्गा)(দুর্গা) literally means "impassable",  "invincible, unassailable". It is related to the word Durg (दुर्ग)(দুর্গ) which means "fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass". According to Monier Monier-Williams, Durga is derived from the roots dur (difficult) and gam (pass, go through). According to Alain Daniélou, Durga means "beyond defeat".
The word Durga, and related terms appear in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda hymns 4.28, 5.34, 8.27, 8.47, 8.93 and 10.127, and in sections 10.1 and 12.4 of the Atharvaveda.[note 1] A deity named Durgi appears in section 10.1.7 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her that is found in later Hindu literature.
The word is also found in ancient post-Vedic Sanskrit texts such as in section 2.451 of the Mahabharata and section 4.27.16 of the Ramayana. These usages are in different contexts. For example, Durg is the name of an Asura who had become invincible to gods, and Durga is the goddess who intervenes and slays him. Durga and its derivatives are found in sections 4.1.99 and 6.3.63 of the Ashtadhyayi by Pāṇini, the ancient Sanskrit grammarian, and in the commentary of Nirukta by Yaska. Durga as a demon-slaying goddess was likely well established by the time the classic Hindu text called Devi Mahatmya was composed, which scholars variously estimate to between 400 and 600 CE. The Devi Mahatmya and other mythologies describe the nature of demonic forces symbolised by Mahishasura as shape-shifting and adapting in nature, form and strategy to create difficulties and achieve their evil ends, while Durga calmly understands and counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals.[note 2]
There are many epithets for Durga in Shaktism and her nine appellations are (Navadurga): Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. A list of 108 names of the goddess are recited in order to worship her and is popularly known as the "Ashtottarshat Namavali of Goddess Durga".
One famous shloka states the definition and origin of the term 'Durga': "Durge durgati nashini", meaning Durga is the one who destroys all distress.
One of the earliest evidence of reverence for Devi – the feminine nature of God, appears in chapter 10.125 of the Rig Veda, one of the scriptures of Hinduism. This hymn is also called the Devi Suktam hymn (abridged):
I am the Queen, the gatherer-up of treasures, most thoughtful, first of those who merit worship.
Thus gods have established me in many places with many homes to enter and abide in.
Through me alone all eat the food that feeds them, – each man who sees, breathes, hears the word outspoken.
They know it not, yet I reside in the essence of the Universe. Hear, one and all, the truth as I declare it.
I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that gods and men alike shall welcome.
I make the man I love exceedingly mighty, make him nourished, a sage, and one who knows Brahman.
I bend the bow for Rudra [Shiva], that his arrow may strike, and slay the hater of devotion.
I rouse and order battle for the people, I created Earth and Heaven and reside as their Inner Controller.
On the world's summit I bring forth sky the Father: my home is in the waters, in the ocean as Mother.
Thence I pervade all existing creatures, as their Inner Supreme Self, and manifest them with my body.
I created all worlds at my will, without any higher being, and permeate and dwell within them.
The eternal and infinite consciousness is I, it is my greatness dwelling in everything.
Devi's epithets synonymous with Durga appear in Upanishadic literature, such as Kali in verse 1.2.4 of the Mundaka Upanishad dated to about the 5th century BCE. This single mention describes Kali as "terrible yet swift as thought", very red and smoky colored manifestation of the divine with a fire-like flickering tongue, before the text begins presenting its thesis that one must seek self-knowledge and the knowledge of the eternal Brahman.
Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, that is the centuries around the start of the common era. Both Yudhisthira and Arjuna characters of the Mahabharata invoke hymns to Durga. She appears in Harivamsa in the form of Vishnu's eulogy, and in Pradyumna prayer. Various Puranas from the early to late 1st millennium CE dedicate chapters of inconsistent mythologies associated with Durga. Of these, the Markandeya Purana and the Devi-Bhagavata Purana are the most significant texts on Durga. The Devi Upanishad and other Shakta Upanishads, mostly dated to have been composed in or after the 9th century, present the philosophical and mystical speculations related to Durga as Devi and other epithets, identifying her to be the same as the Brahman and Atman (self, soul).
The historian Ramaprasad Chanda stated in 1916 that Durga evolved over time in the Indian subcontinent. A primitive form of Durga, according to Chanda, was the result of "syncretism of a mountain-goddess worshiped by the dwellers of the Himalaya and the Vindhyas", a deity of the Abhiras conceptualized as a war-goddess. Durga then transformed into Kali as the personification of the all-destroying time, while aspects of her emerged as the primordial energy (Adya Sakti) integrated into the samsara (cycle of rebirths) concept and this idea was built on the foundation of the Vedic religion, mythology and philosophy.
Epigraphical evidence indicates that regardless of her origins, Durga is an ancient goddess. The 6th-century CE inscriptions in early Siddhamatrika script, such as at the Nagarjuni hill cave during the Maukhari era, already mention the legend of her victory over Mahishasura (buffalo-hybrid demon).
Originally she is Adi Parashakti, present before creation and after destruction of the entire universe. She is the ultimate energy but to defeat the Asura Mahishasura all the gods invoked her and as she was present in the form of shakti in all the gods, so she manifested herself from the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and the other gods. Thus her manifested form was born/emerged from the gods to end the torture of Asura Mahishasura. She was gifted with different weapons, ornaments, valuable clothes and gold jewelleries with precious stones and a lion as her mount before going for the war.
Some early European 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.
Left: Durga as buffalo-demon slayer from a 6th century Aihole Hindu temple, Karnataka; Right: in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.
Durga has been a warrior goddess, and she is depicted to express her martial skills. Her iconography typically resonates with these attributes, where she rides a lion or a tiger, has between eight and eighteen hands, each holding a weapon to destroy and create. She is often shown in the midst of her war with Mahishasura, the buffalo demon at the time she victoriously kills the demonic force. Her icon shows her in action, yet her face is calm and serene. In Hindu arts, this tranquil attribute of Durga's face is traditionally derived from the belief that she is protective and violent not because of her hatred, egotism or getting pleasure in violence, but because she acts out of necessity, for the love of the good, for liberation of those who depend on her, and a mark of the beginning of soul's journey to creative freedom.
Durga traditionally holds the weapons of various male gods of Hindu mythology, which they give her to fight the evil forces because they feel that she is the shakti (energy, power). These include chakra, conch, bow, arrow, sword, javelin, shield, and a noose. These weapons are considered symbolic by Shakta Hindus, representing self-discipline, selfless service to others, self-examination, prayer, devotion, remembering her mantras, cheerfulness and meditation. Durga herself is viewed as the "Self" within and the divine mother of all creation. She has been revered by warriors, blessing their new weapons. Durga iconography has been flexible in the Hindu traditions, where for example some intellectuals place a pen or other writing implements in her hand since they consider their stylus as their weapon.
Archeological discoveries suggest that these iconographic features of Durga became common throughout India by about the 4th century CE, states David Kinsley – a professor of religious studies specializing on Hindu goddesses. Durga iconography in some temples appears as part of Mahavidyas or Saptamatrkas (seven mothers considered forms o Durga). Her icons in major Hindu temples such as in Varanasi include relief artworks that show scenes from the Devi Mahatmya.
Durga appears in Hindu mythology in numerous forms and names, but ultimately all these are different aspects and manifestations of one goddess. She is imagined to be terrifying and destructive when she has to be, but benevolent and nurturing when she needs to be. While anthropomorphic icons of her, such as those showing her riding a lion and holding weapons are common, the Hindu traditions use aniconic forms and geometric designs (yantra) to remember and revere what she symbolizes.
Durga is worshipped in Hindu temples across India and Nepal by Shakta Hindus. Her temples, worship and festivals are particularly popular in eastern and northeastern parts of Indian subcontinent during Durga puja, Dashain and Navaratri.
As per Markandya Puran, Durga puja can be performed either for 9 days or 4 days (last four in sequence). The four-day-long Durga Puja is a major annual festival in Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar. It is scheduled per the Hindu luni-solar calendar in the month of Ashvin, and typically falls in September or October. Since it is celebrated during Sharad (literally, season of weeds), it is called as Sharadiya Durga Puja or Akal-Bodhan to differentiate it from the one celebrated originally in spring. The festival is celebrated by communities by making special colorful images of Durga out of clay, recitations of Devi Mahatmya text, prayers and revelry for nine days, after which it is taken out in procession with singing and dancing, then immersed in water. The Durga puja is an occasion of major private and public festivities in the eastern and northeastern states of India.
This festival is an old tradition of Hinduism, though it is unclear how and in which century the festival began. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga puja public festivities since at least the 16th century. The 11th or 12th century Jainism text Yasatilaka by Somadeva mentions a festival and annual dates dedicated to a warrior goddess, celebrated by the king and his armed forces, and the description mirrors attributes of a Durga puja.
In Nepal, the festival dedicated to Durga is called Dashain (sometimes spelled as Dasain), which literally means "the ten". Dashain is the longest national holiday of Nepal, and is a public holiday in Sikkim and Bhutan. During Dashain, Durga is worshipped in ten forms (Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, Mahakali and Durga) with one form for each day in Nepal. The festival includes animal sacrifice in some communities, as well as the purchase of new clothes and gift giving. Traditionally, the festival is celebrated over 15 days, the first nine-day are spent by the faithful by remembering Durga and her ideas, the tenth day marks Durga's victory over Mahisura, and the last five days celebrate the victory of good over evil.
During the first nine days, 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, in addition to Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are considered to be Durga's children. Some Shaktas worship Durga's symbolism and presence as Mother Nature. In South India, especially Andhra Pradesh, Dussera Navaratri is also celebrated and the goddess is dressed each day as a different Devi, all considered equivalent but another aspect of Durga.
In Bangladesh, the four-day-long Sharadiya Durga Puja is the most important religious festival for the Hindus and celebrated across the country with Vijayadashami being a national holiday. In Sri Lanka, Durga in the form of Vaishnavi, bearing Vishnu's iconographic symbolism is celebrated. This tradition has been continued by Sri Lankan diaspora.
According to Hajime Nakamura, over its history, some Buddhist traditions adopted Vedic and Hindu ideas and symbols. For example, the fierce Vajrayana Buddhist meditational deity Yamantaka, also known as Vajrabhairava, developed from the pre-Buddhist god of death, Yama. The Tantric traditions of Buddhism included Durga and developed the idea further. In Japanese Buddhism, she appears as Butsu-mo (sometimes called Koti-sri). In Tibet, the goddess Palden Lhamo is similar to the protective and fierce Durga.
The Sacciya mata found in major medieval era Jain temples mirrors Durga, and she has been identified by Jainism scholars to be the same or sharing a more ancient common lineage. In the Ellora Caves, the Jain temples feature Durga with her lion mount. However, she is not shown as killing the buffalo demon in the Jain cave, but she is presented as a peaceful deity.
Durga is exalted as the divine in Dasam Granth, a sacred text of Sikhism that is traditionally attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. According to Eleanor Nesbitt, this view has been challenged by Sikhs who consider Sikhism to be monotheistic, who hold that a feminine form of Supreme and a reverence for Goddess is "unmistakably of Hindu character".
Archeological site excavations in Indonesia, particularly on the island of Java, have yielded numerous statues of Durga. These have been dated to be from 6th century onwards. Of the numerous early to mid medieval era Hindu deity stone statues uncovered on Indonesian islands, at least 135 statues are of Durga. In parts of Java, she is known as Loro Jonggrang (literally, "slender maiden").
In Cambodia, during its era of Hindu kings, Durga was popular and numerous sculptures of her have been found. However, most differ from the Indian representation in one detail. The Cambodian Durga iconography shows her standing on top of the cut buffalo demon head.
Durga is a major goddess in Hinduism, and the inspiration of Durga Puja – a large annual festival particularly in the eastern and northeastern states of India. Every village, town and city Goddess is her form (if not a form of Laxmi). Durga is celebrated across North India commonly with the phrase 'Jay Mata Di'. She is worshiped as Kamakshi in Tamil Nadu. Major cities like Mumbai (named after Mumba Devi-a name for Durga) and Kolkata (from Kalika, a major form of Durga) are named after her.
Durga as the mother goddess is the inspiration behind the song Vande Mataram, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, during Indian independence movement, later the official national song of India. Durga is present in Indian Nationalism where Bharat Mata i.e. Mother India is viewed as a form of Durga. This is completely secular and keeping in line with the ancient ideology of Durga as Mother and protector to Indians. She is present in pop culture and blockbuster Bollywood movies like Jai Santoshi Maa. The Indian Army uses phrases like "Durga Mata ki Jai!" and "Kaali Mata ki Jai!". Any woman who takes up a cause to fight for goodness and justice is said to have the spirit of Durga in her.
Aarti also spelled arti, arati, arathi, aarthi (In Devanagari: आरती ārtī) is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light (usually from a flame) is offered to one or more deities. Aarti(s) also refers to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when the light is being offered.Adi Parashakti
Adi Parashakti (Sanskrit: आदि पराशक्ति, IAST: Ādi Parāśakti) is a goddess who is considered the Supreme Being in the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. She is also popularly referred to as "Parama Shakti", "AdiShakti", "Maha Shakti", "Mahadevi", "Mahaparvati", Satyam Shakti, or even simply as "Shakti". "Parama" means absolute, "Satya" means the Truth as per many Shakta texts. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana states that Adi Parashakti is the original creator, observer and destroyer of the whole universe. It is also believed that Goddess Parvati is the complete and direct incarnation of Adi Parashakti.Banbhori
Banbhori (also spelt as Banbhauri) is a village in Hisar (also known as Hissar) district of Haryana state of northwestern India.Chembukkavu Bhagavathy Temple
Chembukkavu Bhagavathy Temple is Hindu temple situated in Chembukkavu, Thrissur City of Kerala. Cochin Devaswam Board controls the temple and is one of the 108 Durga Temples in Kerala. The temple is a participant in the Thrissur Pooram every year.
The Bhagavathy at the Ayyanthole temple is considered to be the elder sister of the Chembukkavu Bhagavathy.Devarayanadurga
Devarayanadurga is a hill station located in the state of Karnataka in India. The rocky hills are surrounded by forest and the hilltops are dotted with several temples including the Yoganarasimha and the Bhoganarasimha temples and an altitude of 1204 metres.Devi
Devī (Sanskrit: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for "goddess"; the masculine form is Deva. Devi – the feminine form, and Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, divine, anything of excellence", and are also gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism.
The concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE; however, they do not play a central role in that era. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga have continued to be revered into the modern era. The medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power. She has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.The divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as central in Shakti and Saiva Hindu traditions.Devi Mahatmya
The Devi Mahatmya or Devi Mahatmyam (Sanskrit: devīmāhātmyam, देवीमाहात्म्यम्), or "Glory of the Goddess") is a Hindu religious text describing the Goddess as the supreme power and creator of the universe. It is part of the Markandeya Purana, and estimated to have been composed in Sanskrit between 400-600 CE.
Devi Mahatmyam is also known as the Durgā Saptashatī (दुर्गासप्तशती) or Caṇḍī Pāṭha (चण्डीपाठः). The text contains 700 verses arranged into 13 chapters. Along with Devi-Bhagavata Purana and Shakta Upanishads such as the Devi Upanishad, it is one of the most important texts of Shaktism (goddess) tradition within Hinduism.
The Devi Mahatmyam describes a storied battle between good and evil, where the Devi manifesting as goddess Durga leads the forces of good against the demon Mahishasura—the goddess is very angry and ruthless, and the forces of good win. In peaceful prosperous times, states the text, the Devi manifests as Lakshmi, empowering wealth creation and happiness. The verses of this story also outline a philosophical foundation wherein the ultimate reality (Brahman in Hinduism) is female. The text is one of the earliest extant complete manuscripts from the Hindu traditions which describes reverence and worship of the feminine aspect of God. The Devi Mahatmya is often ranked in some Hindu traditions to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita.The Devi Mahatmya has been particularly popular in eastern states of India, such as West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Goa
as well as Nepal. It is recited during Navratri celebrations, the Durga Puja festival, and in Durga temples across India.Durga Higher Secondary School
Durga Higher Secondary School is situated near Kotachery, at Kanhangad in Kasaragod district, a district in northern Kerala, India
The school was established in 1948. Kotachery Sarvotham Shenoy, a prominent businessman, investor, philanthropist and Mavila Chandu Nambiar, a prominent Landlord of Kanhangad in those times were among the founders of the school. The school secured first prize in the state level youth festival in Kerala in 2007. The school has a strength of more than 4,000 students and 150 teachers. In 2008 the school was able to keep its top position up in Youth festival, Sanskrit festival and Arabic festival.Giving importance to Sanskrit Education is a commentable achievement of Durga Higher Secondary School.Three Sanskrit teachers are available.The school secured first prize in the District School Kalolsavam for many years.Durga Khote
Durga Khote (14 January 1905 − 22 September 1991) was an Indian actress, beginning as one of the foremost leading ladies of her times, she remained active in Hindi and Marathi cinema, as well as theatre, for over 50 years, starring in around 200 films and numerous theatre productions.
In 2000, in a millennium issue, India Today named her among "100 People Who Shaped India", noting: "Durga Khote marks the pioneering phase for women in Indian Cinema" as she was one of the first women from respectable families to enter the film industry, thus breaking a social taboo.She also ranks among the top ten actresses in mother roles in Hindi cinema, most notable among them were as Jodhabai in K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960); as Kaikeyi in Vijay Bhatt's classic Bharat Milap (1942); her other memorable roles as mother were in Charnon Ki Dasi (1941); Mirza Ghalib; Bobby (1973) and Bidaai (1974). She has received the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1983), for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.Durga Mandir, Varanasi
Durga Mandir (Hindi: दुर्गा मंदिर), also known as Durga Kund Mandir and Durga Temple, is one of the most famous temples in the holy city of Varanasi. This temple has great religious importance in Hinduism and is dedicated to the Maa Durga. Durga Mandir was constructed in 18th century by Bengali Maharani (Bengali Queen).Durga Puja
Durga Puja (Bengali: দুর্গাপূজা, Assamese: দুৰ্গা পূজা, Odia: ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା), also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga. It is particularly popular in the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, and Odisha, the modern-nation of Bangladesh and the diaspora from this region, and in Nepal where it is called Dashain. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, typically September or October of the Gregorian calendar, and is a multi-day festival that features elaborate temple and stage decorations (pandals), scripture recitation, performance arts, revelry, and processions. It is a major festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism across India and Shakta Hindu diaspora.Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious. Thus, the festival epitomises the victory of good over evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation. The Durga Puja festival dates coincide with Vijayadashami (Dussehra) observed by other traditions of Hinduism, where the Ram Lila is enacted — the victory of Rama is marked and effigies of demon Ravana are burnt instead.The primary goddess revered during Durga Puja is Durga, but her stage and celebrations feature other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war). In the Bengali traditions, the other deities next to her side are considered to be the children of Durga (Parvati). The Hindu god Shiva, as Durga's husband, is also revered during this festival. The festival begins on the first day with Mahalaya, marking Durga's advent in her battle against evil. Starting with the sixth day (Sasthi), the goddess is welcomed, festive Durga worship and celebrations begin in elaborately decorated temples and pandals hosting the statues. Lakshmi and Saraswati are revered on the following days. The festival ends of the tenth day of Vijaya Dashami, when with drum beats of music and chants, Shakta Hindu communities start a procession carrying the colorful clay statues to a river or ocean and immerse them, as a form of goodbye and her return to divine cosmos and Mount Kailash.The festival is an old tradition of Hinduism, though it is unclear how and in which century the festival began. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga Puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga Puja public festivities since at least the 16th century. The prominence of Durga Puja increased during the British Raj in its provinces of Bengal and Assam. Durga Puja is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are typically special and an annual holiday in regions such as West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Odisha and Tripura where it is particularly popular. In the contemporary era, the importance of Durga Puja is as much as a social festival as a religious one wherever it is observed.Durga temple, Aihole
The Durga temple is a medieval Hindu temple located in Aihole in the state of Karnataka, India. It is part of a pending UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from the fine carvings, it is famous as a rare apsidal or round-ended Hindu temple, representing a final stage in the transition of the ancient chaitya hall tradition to later Hindu temple architecture.The temple was probably built in the late 7th century by the dynasty of the Chalukyas; it is the largest of a group of over 120 temples at Aihole. The architecture of the temple is predominantly Dravida with Nagara style also is used in certain areas. The Durga Temple belongs to Badami Chalukya architecture.Even though the temple features a Durga sculpture, the origin of the name is not because of its dedication to Durga goddess, but because Durga means protector or a fortress. The temple formed part of a fortification probably of the Marathas; old photos show walls built on the roof.
The original dedication of the temple may have been to the sun god Surya, or perhaps either Vishnu or Shiva as the representations of Vishnu are as numerous as those of Shiva. The most original feature of the temple is a peristyle delimiting an ambulatory around the temple itself and whose walls are covered with sculptures of different gods or goddesses. The rounded ends at the rear or sanctuary end include a total of three layers: the wall of the sanctuary itself, the main temple wall beyond a passageway running behind this, and a pteroma or ambulatory as an open loggia with pillars, running all round the building. Stone grilles with various geometrical openwork patterns ventilate the interior from the ambulatory. The heart of the shrine (garba griha) is surmounted by a tower which announces the future higher towers shikharas and vimanas. The amalaka that once crowned the shikara is on the ground nearby (visible in top picture).From the front the temple appears much more conventional; two staircases provide access to the porch, with many richly carved relief panels, including roundels with groups of lovers. The sober and square pillars are decorated with characters around the porch and the entrance to the peristyle. The parapet is carved with niches and small animals. The porch gives access to rooms with pillars ('mukhamantapa' and "sabhamantapa") to get into the sanctuary, the heart of the shrine (garba griha). There is now no cult image in the sanctuary, and two ceiling panels have been removed and are now in the National Museum, New Delhi.Irumkulangara Durga Devi Temple
Irumkulangara Durga Bhagavathi Temple (Malayalam: ഇരുംകുളങ്ങര ദുര്ഗ്ഗാദേവി ക്ഷേത്രം) is a Hindu temple in Thottam, Manacaud, Manacaud P.O, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It is about 1.8 kilometres to the southwest of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram city.Kanaka Durga Temple
Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous hindu Temple of Goddess Durga located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River. Kaalika puraana, Durgaa sapthashati and other vedic literature have mentioned about Goddess Kanaka Durga on the Indrakeelaadri and have described the deity as Swayambhu, (self-manifested) in Triteeya kalpa.Nandi Hills, India
Nandi Hills or Nandi betta (Anglicised forms include Nandidurg and Nandydoorg) is an ancient hill fortress built by Tippu Sulthan in southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. The hills are nestled near the town of Nandi. In traditional belief, the hills are the origin of the Arkavathy river, Ponnaiyar River, Palar River and Penna River.Navadurga
Navadurga (Sanskrit: नवदुर्गा, IAST: Navadurgā, lit. Nine forms of Durga), are nine manifestations of the goddess Durga in Hinduism, especially worshiped during the festival of Navratri where each of the nine manifested forms are venerated respectively for each night. The nine forms of Goddess Durga (also synonymous with Gauri) or (Parvati) are: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri.Navaratri
Navaratri, also spelled Navratri, Nauratri, Navarathri, Navratam, or Nauratam, is a nine nights (and ten days) Hindu festival, celebrated in the autumn every year. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navaratri. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navaratri that is the most observed in the honor of the divine feminine Devi (Durga). The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.In the eastern and northeastern states of India, the Durga Puja is synonymous with Navaratri, wherein goddess Durga battles and emerges victorious over the buffalo demon to help restore Dharma. In the northern and western states, the festival is synonymous with "Rama Lila" and Dussehra that celebrates the battle and victory of god Rama over the demon king Ravana. In southern states, the victory of different goddesses, of Rama or Saraswati is celebrated. In all cases, the common theme is the battle and victory of Good over Evil based on a regionally famous epic or legend such as the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.Celebrations include stage decorations, recital of the legend, enacting of the story, and chanting of the scriptures of Hinduism. The nine days are also a major crop season cultural event, such as competitive design and staging of pandals, a family visit to these pandals and the public celebration of classical and folk dances of Hindu culture. On the final day, called the Vijayadashami or Dussehra, the statues are either immersed in a water body such as river and ocean, or alternatively the statue symbolizing the evil is burnt with fireworks marking evil's destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays, Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami or Dussehra.Pulakeshin II
Pulakeshin II (IAST: Pulakeśin, r. c. 610–642 CE) was the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty of Vatapi (present-day Badami in Karnataka, India). During his reign, the Chalukya kingdom expanded to cover most of the Deccan region in peninsular India.
A son of the Chalukya king Kirttivarman I, Pulakeshin overthrew his uncle Mangalesha to gain control of the throne. He suppressed a rebellion by Appayika and Govinda, and decisively defeated the Kadambas of Banavasi in the south. The Alupas and the Gangas of Talakad recognized his suzerainty. He consolidated the Chalukya control over the western coast by subjugating the Mauryas of Konkana. His Aihole inscription also credits him with subjugating the Latas, the Malavas, and the Gurjaras in the north.
The most notable military achievement of Pulakeshin was his victory over the powerful northern emperor Harsha-vardhana, whose failure to conquer the Chalukya kingdom is attested by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang. In the east, Pulakeshin subjugated the rulers of Dakshina Kosala and Kalinga. After defeating the Vishnukundina ruler, he appointed his brother Vishnu-vardhana as the governor of eastern Deccan; this brother later established the independent Eastern Chalukya dynasty of Vengi. Pulakeshin also achieved some successes against the Pallavas in the south, but was ultimately defeated, and probably killed, during an invasion by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I.
Pulakeshin was a Vaishnavite, but was tolerant of other faiths, including Shaivism, Buddhism, and Jainism. He patronized several scholars, including Ravikirtti, who composed his Aihole inscription.Vijayadashami
Vijayadashami (IAST: Vijayadaśamī, pronounced [ʋɪʝəjəðəʃmɪ]]) also known as Dasahara, Dusshera, Dasara, Dussehra or Dashain is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. It is observed on the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, the seventh month of the Hindu Luni-Solar Calendar, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.Vijayadashami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of South Asia. In the southern, eastern and northeastern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to restore and protect dharma. In the northern and western states, the festival is synonymously called Dussehra (also spelled Dasara, Dashahara). In these regions, it marks the end of "Ramlila" and remembers God Rama's victory over the Ravana. On the very same occasion; Arjuna alone decimated 1 lakh+ soldiers & defeated all Kuru warriors including Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Karna, Kripa etc.- there by significantly quoting the natural example of victory of good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma). Alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi such as Durga or Saraswati.Vijayadashami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye. Elsewhere, on Dasara, the towering effigies of Ravana symbolizing the evil are burnt with fireworks marking evil's destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami.
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