So, as HFEK pointed out, a post on Kali maybe shouldn’t omit mention of Durga. This is a problem because there’s only one Hindu temple in Darjeeling (and the one we visited close to the Nepal border, which definitely didn’t have a shrine to her.)
So I went back to Mahakai temple to see if I missed her.
On the way, once you’re above the central town, it’s a nice walk through the rhododendron forest. They’re about 40′ – 60′ feet tall here. I’ve been in rhody forests since nearing India and haven’t seen one bloom. Nothing happening until April at the earliest.
We didn’t miss her the other day; she was obscured, as I watched this at this very spot a few days ago. Durga in the background:
And this description
… refers to the Goddess as a warrior who kills or helps kill trouble-making demons… In folk and classical songs, she is described as one who loves blood and bedecks herself with the heads and entrails of her victims.
And yet … what we see is a gentle, benign looking deity, dressed in finery, her face ethereal and enchanting, smiling benevolently. Her devotees worship her as mother. They sing songs to her glory. But few pay attention to the blood on the altar. A buffalo lies decapitated… Those lips, those eyes, those jewels distract us from the violence around: the weapons of war, the ferocious lion, the man impaled by a trident, the blood pouring out of the buffalo’s severed neck.
From here, a website I like for its entertaining spin.