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In Hinduism, Durga is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess, also identified with Parvati. As a mother goddess, she is frequently called Maa Durga and is sometimes referred to as the mother of Kartik, Ganesh, Lakshmi, and Saraswati (in some traditions she is also an incarnation of Saraswati or Lakshmi).
Durga is depicted as a warrior woman riding a lion or a tiger with multiple hands carrying weapons and assuming mudras, or symbolic hand gestures. This form of the Goddess is the embodiment of feminine and creative energy (Shakti).
According to the narrative from the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana, the form of Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight the demon Mahishasura. His father Rambha, king of the demons, once fell in love with a water buffalo, and Mahishasur was born out of this union. He is therefore able to change between human and buffalo form at will (mahisha means "buffalo"). Through intense prayers to Brahma, Mahishasura had the boon that he could not be defeated by any man or god. By virtue of this power, he invaded the gods, who went for help to the supreme trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra), but Mahishashura defeated all of the gods including the trinity themselves. He unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds.
Eventually, since only a woman could kill him, the trinity bestowed a dazzling beam of energy upon Uma/Parvati, the wife of Shiva, transforming her into the goddess, Durga. Her form was blindingly beautiful with 3 lotus-like, blood-bordered eyes, ten powerful hands, hair in the form of black pearls, golden glow from her skin. Her face was sculpted by Shiva, torso by Indra, breasts by Chandra (the moon), teeth by Brahma, bottom by the Earth, thighs and knees by Varuna (wind), and her three eyes by Agni (fire). Each god also gave her their own most powerful weapons, Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandal, Kuber's gada etc. Himalayas gifted her a white fierce lion. On the end of the 8th & beginning of the 9th day of waxing moon, Chanda and Munda came to fight the goddess. She turned blue with anger and goddess Chamunda leaped out of her third eye. Her form was the most powerful one with 3 red eyes, blood-filled toungue and dark skin; who finally killed the twin demons with her sword. This form of the divine goddess is worshipped during the sandhikshan of Durga Puja festival, as sandhi/chandi puja. Finally on the tenth day of waxing moon, goddess Durga killed Mahishasura with her trident.
The word Shakti, meaning strength, reflects the warrior aspect of the goddess, embodying a traditional male role. But she is also strikingly beautiful, and initially Mahishasura tries to marry her. Other incarnations include Annapurna and Karunamayi (karuna = kindness).
The 4 day Durga Puja is the biggest annual festival in Bengal and other parts of Eastern India. But it is celebrated in various forms throughout the Hindu universe.
The day of Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami (East and South India), Dashain (Nepal) or Dussehra (North India) - these words literally mean "the tenth" (day), vijayA means "of-victory". 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 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.
In North India, this tenth day, signifying Rama's victory in his battle against the demon Ravana, is celebrated as Dussehra - 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 Gujarat it is celebrated as the last day of Navaratri, during which the Garba dance is performed to celebrate the vigorous victory of Mahishasura-mardini Durga.
Goddess Durga is worshipped in many temples of Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durga

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