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Chandi


Chandi a manifestation of the Goddess Durga or Shakti, and the symbol of power. According to the Markandeya Purana, the goddess killed several demons such as Shumbha, Nishumbha, Chanda and Munda. When the goddess kills the enemies of the gods, she assumes a ferocious form and is called Chandi. But when the same goddess helps her followers and saves them from danger, she is called Durga. In her manifestation as Durga, Chandi killed Mahisasur, a demon.

Chandi is worshipped by Hindus under many names, including Devichandi, Mabgalchandi, Jaychandi, Olaichandi, Kuluichandi, Chelaichandi. In her manifestation as Jaychandi, the killer of destructive desires, the goddess is two-handed, three-eyed, cream-coloured, and lotus-borne. The Markandeya Purana describes her attributes in one book containing seven hundred shlokas.

The greatness of Durga as Aranyani Chandi has been described in the form of songs called collectively Chandimangal. These medieval Bangla songs praise the goddess as the fearless Mangalchandi or simply Chandi, the saviour of the oppressed. Chandi's vahana or mount is the iguana. In west bengal and Bangladesh, Chandi is worshipped by women as the goddess of domestic harmony and happiness. Wives who worship Chandi eat only fruits every Tuesday in the month of Jyaistha and recite slokas or verses in her praise.

To the folk Hindu society, Chandi is perceived in many forms. For example, Chandi is called Ban-Durga when she stands on the Sheoda tree and Devi-Sasthi when she is associated with the Pakud tree. She is perceived as Basanta-Chandi when she cures patients of basanta or small pox. Many villages are named after Chandi, for example, Bonyai-Chandi, Sagdai-Chandi etc. Chandi devotees tie strips of cloth to branches in the name of the goddess and ask for her blessings. In this manifestation the goddess is called Nekdai-Chandi. In some parts of Bangladesh, Chandi is worshipped by placing bricks at the foot of a tree. The goddess is then called Ital-Chandi. At the time of durga puja, people recite Chandi slokas in order to receive blessings' from Chandi. [Paresh Chandra Mandal]