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Photographer's Note

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.

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