I first came across the Hindu goddess Kali in my Rough Guide India eBook. Here’s how she’s described here:
Kali is the Hindu goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love.
Whoa! Ganesha, go hide!
From the above site:
Kali’s most common pose in paintings is in her most fearsome guise as the slayer of demons, where she stands or dances with one foot on a collapsed Shiva and holds a severed head. She wears a skirt of severed human arms, a necklace of decapitated heads, and earrings of dead children, and she often has a terrifying expression with a lolling tongue which drips blood.
We’ve seen her only twice, I don’t think she’s common, but not sure
On the way to the Nepal border we went through a long pine forest. The track with the shrine marked
On a hill beside the road, this
At the gate, the monkey god, Hanuman
And then Ganesha (below post). Then Shiva and Parvati
Tonque sticking out, bloody hands, taunting, defiant
The next day we went to the extraordinary Mahakai Temple, which is on a Darjeeling hill, centre here
The walk up here was high value
Garish and beautiful structures
The monkeys are fed, of course
The woman above was doing laps of the shrine with incense, nodding in with each passing. She walked clockwise, right to left, in the same way as you spin a prayer wheel
Kali is awesome. (I’m sure you came upon this in your readings but…) The reason she is standing on Shiva is because this is the only way she calms down when she is in full bad-ass destroyer of worlds mode: she realizes she is stomping on her love (Shiva) and she stops.
Durga is equally cool. Another equally bad-ass consort of Shiva, possibly a form of Parvati herself, who devotes herself to kicking ass and taking names. Re-arrange the letters in Durga and you get Guard. Coincidence? I think not.
Why am I not surprised you know this?! Yes, I’ve read about Durga but haven’t found her yet.
Coincidence? I hope so for everybody’s sakes!
Wish i was there!