(Last Updated on : 17/07/2012)
, located in Varanasi
, is one of the important pilgrimage centres in India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga
and was built in the eighteenth century by a Bengali Maharani. The Durga temple is situated on a rectangular tank, called the Durga Kund. The goddess is associated with many miracles and legends.
According to the legend there was once a demon named Durg. He was son of another demon by the name of Ruru who had devoted himself to performance of ascetic rites. He completely devoted himself to the religious practises and acquired immense power and merit. Thus, he became superior to all the deities, who fled away in his fear. Taking the advantage of the acquired power Durg forcefully entered their domains and usurped their throne and position. All the gods of heaven including Lord Indra
, Lord Agni
, (the god of Fire), Pavana (the god of the "Winds), and Jala (the god of "Water) submitted to his authority. The demon began tormenting people. He put a stop to practising religion. Hence injustice, tyranny and oppression spread all over the earth. Even the gods were treated disrespectfully. They thus formed a group and went to Lord Shiva
, and narrated their miserable condition to him. Upon hearing their complain took pity on them, and instructed his wife, Gauri, to kill the demon. Gauri summoned the bloody goddess Mahakali, and instructed her to slay the demon. As soon as Durg got the news of he summoned all his relatives and servants, and ordered them to captivate her. They acted according to the orders and seized Mahakali. When they were carrying her off to the house of the demon the goddess darted fire from her mouth, and burnt them all to ashes. Durg then gathered together a larger number of his adherents, and sent them to recapture the goddess. They too met with the same fate. The demon was now raged and to counter her formed a huge army numbering several millions of persons. Seeing such a host of army approaching her
Mahakali fled, and ascended to heaven in the form of a balloon. However, the army kept following her. The goddess then came to Gauri, and narrated the complete event. Gauri then incarnated her body, possessing a thousand arms, of gigantic dimensions. She descended earth to heaven. Upon seeing her Durg became smitten with her beauty. He declared to his people, that whoever could capture her would be given the throne of Lord Indra. The people became very excited by the prospect of obtaining such a high position. They made several regiments of the army and attacked upon Gauri. So great was the uproar, that the four elephants which supported the earth on their backs became terrified. They ran away, to Bindhyachal. Seeing the circumstances, Gauri was elated. She in her own defence immediately created an army of gods and instruments of warfare. Both the army began waging war on each other. Many relatives of the demon Durg were killed by the gods. At last, with no other option left, Durg himself came forward to now take part in the war. He possessed several weapons like trident, a sword, a bow, and arrows. With these weapons he inflicted upon her a heavy blow. The goddess fainted, but, then soon recovered herself. She ordered the gods to continue the war. The battle between the gods and the demons became fierce. Gauri kept on fighting with Durg and ascended to heaven and descended to the earth again. Upon reaching the earth the demon seized a stone, and threw it at the goddess. On seeing this she uttered a curse that reduced the stone to ashes. The demon then raised a mountain and threw it on her but she crumbled it, also, to powder. The goddess became very infuriated and struck the demon with her weapon. The demon was severely hurt and fell to the ground uttering a loud cry. The goddess then cut off the head of Durg. All the enemies were also killed and thus, the battle ended. All the gods of the heaven gained back their throne and positions. They all approached the goddess singing her glory for rescuing them from the demon. They all showered flowers from heaven on the earth below. The celestial dancers, musicians, and minstrels, Apsarases, Gandharvas, and Kinnaras, were summoned, and, together with the gods, Munis, and Rishis, joined in rendering praise to Gauri.