India is known for its rich culture and religions. Hinduism is one of the important religions in the country. In fact the country is known as Hindustan. The followers of Hinduism worship a number of deities and goddess Durga is one of these deities.
It is believed that Goddess Durga is the radiant goddess. The Goddess is considered to be the mother of all existence. She is also known as the deity that drives the processes of creation, preservation and destruction. The name comes from a Sanskrit word which means inaccessible. The roots of the name can also be mapped back to a Bengali word which means indestructible. The goddess is usually referred to with a prefix maa. Even though the goddess is called maa, she is considered as the warrior goddess and is said to fight against all evil that threatens peace and prosperity of the devotees.
Durga maa is considered to be fearless of everything and also her patience is something that is considered to be endless. She is also worshipped as the mother of deities like Ganesha, Kartik, Swaraswati and Lakshmi.
Hindus also believe in a number of myths and in one such myth, goddess Durga fights an evil demon called Mahishashura. This demon was terrorising the heavens and the earth. This demon was blessed by the god Brahma and hence it was impossible for a mortal man to kill this demon. Gods like Vishnu and Shiva were informed of the situation and Shiva formed Durga who was a female warrior out of pure energy. The intention was to kill the demon.
Durga met Mahishashura in the battlefield. The demon on seeing the goddess underestimated her powers and thought that it was impossible for a woman to defeat a demon as powerful as him. A battle took place between the demon and the goddess for 10 long days and finally Durga maa beheaded the demon and restored peace on earth and the heavens. This war is considered as the fight against all forms of darkness and evil.
Usually Durga maa is depicted in a form of a woman having 10 arms. Each arm is used to hold a different weapon. In one hand, a lotus is held and this is shown as the icon of creation. This goddess is seen riding a tiger and this again is considered as an icon of courage. People worship this goddess in belief of receiving courage to overcome different difficult situations of life successfully.
Durga Puja is a festival in honour of this goddess. This is also one of the biggest festivals celebrated across the country. In fact this festival is celebrated for a period of 10 days. People celebrate this in memory of the epic battle between goddess Durga and Mahishasura. The festival ends with the final day which is known as Dussehra or vijayadashami. This day is in memory of Durga maa beheading the demon to save everyone on heaven and earth.