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Durga, is identified as the principal Hindu goddess of war, strength and protection. The legend centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity, and Dharma the power of good over evil. Durga is also a fierce form of the protective mother goddess, who unleashes her divine wrath against the wicked for the liberation of the oppressed, and entails 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 principal forms of Durga worshiped are Maha Durga, Chandika and Aparajita. Of these, Chandika has two forms called Chandi 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. Katyayani Durga is also worshiped in the form of her nine epithets called Navadurga.
In Hinduism, Shaktas believe Durga as the ultimate reality called Brahman and associate her with Parvati, Shiva's wife. Shaivas generally worship her along with Shiva, while Vaishnavas consider Durga as Vishnu's sister or an avatar of his wife, Lakshmi. The two most important texts of Shaktism, Devi Mahatmya and Devi-Bhagavata Purana, reveres Devi or Shakti (goddess) as the primordial creator of the universe and the Brahman (ultimate truth and reality). While all major texts of Hinduism mention and revere the goddess, these two texts centers around her as the primary divinity. Devi Mahatmya is 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.
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