(Last Updated on : 27/10/2015)
Iconography of Goddess Durga can be seen in the Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh
. The image of Goddess Durga
slaying the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha can be rarely seen. The temple has an artistically designed eight armed stone image of the goddess. It portrays the goddess in the act of slaying two demons.
Goddess Durga in the Devi temple has been symbolized in an archer attitude. The idol is adorned with a diadem, heavy ear pendants and several other attractive ornaments. The deity has three eyes. Apart from the two normal eyes, the third eye appears over the forehead. With her two hands she is holding her weapons. On the prongs of her trident a demon is seen struggling who also raises his sword to attack the goddess. In the remaining three hands she is seen holding a long sword, a vajra and a sword shaped mace. With her two hands on the left side she holds a bell and a bow. With her eighth hand she holds the hair of the second demon, armed with sword and shield who resists in vain to escape. These two demons are the asura kings Sumbha and Nisumbha.
The feet of Goddess Durga remain hidden at the rear of a miniature balustrade made of a row of eight small pilasters. Two main pilasters support an arch under which a figurine is seated. It occupies the same position as Aruna over the chariot of Surya
. It is believed that the figure might be of the donor. Images of two ferocious lions have been installed in front of the pedestal. The lions are seen devouring the buffalo form of Mahisasura
. An inscription has been inscribed in Devanagari characters in the temple that states about the donation of the image by the donor.
The iconography of Goddess Durga of Devi temple is a unique image as it portrays the killing of Sumbha and Nisumbha by the goddess. The portrayal of Mahisasura being killed in the foreground; makes the image solely exclusive. Such form of projection is not available in the texts. Probably the artist has envisioned of portraying Durga in a composite form, slaying of Sumbha and Nisumbha and Mahisasura at the same time.