Somanathapura Keshava Temple: Durga as Mahishasuramardini (Slayer of Mahishasura)

Mahishasuramardini - A narrative relief depicting Durga slaying Mahishasura mounted on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Mahishasuramardini – A narrative sculptural relief depicting Goddess Durga slaying Mahishasura

Durga as Mahishasuramardini
The narrative sculpture shown in the image depicts Goddess Durga slaying Mahishasura, an evil demon who took the form of a buffalo. The Sanskrit word Mahishasuramardini is a concatenation of three words: mahisha (buffalo), asura (demon), and mardini (slayer).

The slaying of Mahishasura is all about the triumph of good over evil and is based on an episode narrated in Devi Mahatmya, a part of Markandeya Purana. Created by combining energies from Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma and other gods, Durga is also a Hindu goddess of war and a protector from evil.

As you can see from the narrative sculpture, Goddess Durga is standing triumphantly over Mahishasura, i.e., the buffalo that appears to have fallen on the ground, and the real Mahishasura is seen emerging from the body of the buffalo. Standing to the left of Durga is her vehicle, a lion (partly broken). Goddess Durga has ten arms, some of which are missing or broken.

This sculpture is mounted on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple located in Karnataka, India.

Related Images
Durga as Mahishasuramardini on the outer wall of the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, Karnataka, India
Durga as Mahishasuramardini (Slayer of Mahishasura) installed in a devakoshta of the Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka, India
Statue of Durga as Mahishasuramardini standing in the Shiva Temple at Prambanan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Related Pages
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Temple

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