Photographer's Note

Kali Puja - Dewali (meaning 'Deepabali' or "Array of Lights") - is celebrated after a couple of weeks after Durga Puja. Kali is another form of Durga herself. She is her darker side. Matches the demons horror for horror. All the demon followers of Siva are her hench-spirits, both male and female.
She is widely worshipped in season by all sorts of people, in images large and small. Such an image was being carried to one of the innumerable makeshift temples that come up at the time.
Can you imagine such a divinity riding in the lowly Rickshaw?

Who is Kali?
Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess Durga. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th - 6th century AD. She is often depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment and shame, and put an end to her homicidal rampage. Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mle mood, standing with one foot on Shiva's chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.

Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world's deities. She has four arms, with a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. The other two hands bless her worshippers, and say, "fear not"! She has two dead heads for her earrings, a string of skulls as necklace, and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are sullied with blood.
Her three eyes represent past, present, and future, the three modes of time an attribute that lies in the very name Kali ('Kala' in Sanskrit means time). The eminent translator of Tantrik texts, Sir John Woodroffe in Garland of Letters, writes, "Kali is so called because She devours Kala (Time) and then resumes Her own dark formlessness."
Kali's proximity to cremation grounds where the five elements or "Pancha Mahabhuta" come together, and all worldly attachments are absolved, again point to the cycle of birth and death. The reclined Shiva lying prostrate under the feet of Kali suggests that without the power of Kali (Shakti), Shiva is inert.

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Additional Photos by Salil Biswas (Salil_B) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 218 W: 3 N: 182] (737)
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