Durga - Antique Javanese Style Majapahit Mahishasuramardini Durga Statue - 27cm/11"

Durga: The Divine Mother and Warrior Goddess in Hinduism


Hinduism, one of the world's oldest and most diverse religions, is replete with a pantheon of deities, each embodying various aspects of the divine. Among these divine entities, Goddess Durga stands as a prominent and multifaceted symbol of strength, protection, and motherly love. Durga, also known as Devi, Shakti, or Mahishasura Mardini, is venerated throughout India and beyond as the ultimate feminine manifestation of the divine. In this Blog, we will explore the significance, mythology, and cultural relevance of the Hindu goddess Durga.

The Significance of Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga holds a central place in Hindu religious and cultural traditions. She is revered as the epitome of feminine power, grace, and benevolence, and her many forms and attributes reflect the multifaceted nature of the divine feminine. Durga is often depicted as a beautiful woman with multiple arms, each holding various weapons symbolizing her boundless power and her capacity to protect and destroy. The lion, her chosen mount, represents courage and valor, and it is said to be the source of her strength.

Durga is celebrated in various forms across India, and her festivals are grand occasions, uniting people in devotion, celebration, and cultural expression. The most famous of these celebrations is Durga Puja, which takes place over a ten-day period in West Bengal and other parts of India. It is marked by elaborate processions, traditional dances, artistic displays, and the worship of beautifully crafted idols of the goddess. Durga Puja is a time of immense joy and spiritual reflection for Hindus, and it transcends religious boundaries, bringing together people of all backgrounds.

 Javanese Durga

Mythological Origins

The mythology of Durga is rich and diverse, with various narratives highlighting her different manifestations and roles. One of the most famous tales is her defeat of the buffalo demon Mahishasura, which earned her the name "Mahishasura Mardini" (the slayer of Mahishasura). According to this legend, the demon Mahishasura had gained immense power through penance and had become nearly invincible. As he rampaged through the heavens and the earth, the gods realized they could not defeat him. In their despair, they invoked the divine mother, Durga, who emerged from the collective energies of the gods and goddesses.

Durga, with her infinite power and fierce determination, waged a fierce battle against Mahishasura. After a protracted and intense combat, she ultimately vanquished the demon, saving the gods and restoring cosmic order. This story symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, the necessity of divine intervention in times of crisis, and the indomitable strength of the divine feminine.

The Ten-Armed Goddess

Durga is often depicted with ten arms, each carrying a specific weapon or symbol. These arms signify her omnipotent nature, as well as her multifaceted abilities. Some of the significant attributes carried by Durga include:

  1. Trishul (Trident): Symbolizing the destruction of ignorance, ego, and desire.
  2. Chakra (Discus): Signifying the wheel of time and the cyclical nature of life.
  3. Shankha (Conch): Representing the divine sound that created the universe.
  4. Bow and Arrow: Reflecting her precision and ability to strike down obstacles.
  5. Sword: Signifying the power to cut through delusion and falsehood.
  6. Lotus: Symbolizing purity and detachment from worldly desires.
  7. Rosary: Representing continuous devotion and meditation.
  8. Kamandalu (Water Pot): Symbolizing the power to create and purify.
  9. Shield: Reflecting protection against evil and negativity.
  10. Japa Mala (Prayer Beads): Embodying the continuous recitation of mantras.

The Ten-Day Festival: Durga Puja

Durga Puja, the ten-day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga, is the most widely celebrated event in her honor. This festival typically occurs in September or October, depending on the lunar calendar. It is especially significant in West Bengal, where it is marked by immense enthusiasm and grandeur. The festival involves a variety of rituals and cultural activities, including:

  1. Idol Installation: Elaborate clay idols of Goddess Durga and her children (Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya, and Ganesha) are crafted and installed in beautifully decorated pandals (temporary shrines).

  2. Worship and Offerings: Priests and devotees perform intricate rituals, offer prayers, and make offerings to the goddess.

  3. Traditional Dances and Music: Cultural performances, including classical dances like Kathak and Bharatanatyam, are a significant part of the celebrations.

  4. Processions: Colorful processions with idols of Durga are carried through the streets, accompanied by music, dance, and enthusiastic devotees.

  5. Art and Craft Exhibitions: Local artisans showcase their talents, creating intricate artwork and crafts that reflect the goddess and her story.

  6. Social Gatherings: Durga Puja brings communities together, fostering a sense of unity, cultural pride, and spiritual devotion.

  7. Visarjan: On the last day of the festival, the idols are immersed in rivers or water bodies, symbolizing the goddess's return to her celestial abode. This moment is marked by both celebration and a tinge of sadness.

Cultural Relevance and Beyond

Goddess Durga's significance extends beyond religious boundaries. She embodies the enduring values of strength, courage, compassion, and the ability to face and conquer adversity. Her multifaceted nature offers inspiration to people from all walks of life. Durga's worship, therefore, transcends religious barriers, with people of various beliefs finding solace and motivation in her stories and qualities.

Moreover, Durga's symbolism is not confined to Hinduism alone. Her universal themes of empowerment and protection resonate with people across the world. In an era where gender equality and women's empowerment are at the forefront of social discussions, the image of the strong, compassionate, and victorious Durga remains a powerful and enduring icon.


Goddess Durga stands as a divine embodiment of strength, courage, and maternal protection in Hinduism. Her rich mythology, tenacious image, and grand festivals like Durga Puja make her a central and revered figure in the religion. Beyond religious confines, Durga's message of empowerment and her role as a symbol of universal values resonate with a global audience. She serves as a reminder of the indomitable power of the feminine and the ability to overcome darkness, making her a beloved and timeless goddess in the pantheon of Hindu deities.

Khmer Durga