Medha Malik Kudaisya, Assistant Professor, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore

Sugar Sifter

The Great Goddess

Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple

100 Depot Road, Singapore

At the center of the main portal sits the Great Goddess. The most popular legends associated with the Goddess come from the Devi Mahatmya ("The Glory of the Goddess"), a Sanskrit text dated c. 5th-6th century. Amongst the most well known is the story of the Great Goddess slaying the buffalo-headed, human-bodied demon Mahishasura. Another famous legend tells the tale of the Goddess defeating the demon Rakhta Beeja during a fierce battle against the powerful demon brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha. The battle was especially fearsome since countless demons emanated from the blood of the demon Rakhta Beeja in the course of the encounter, forcing the Goddess to lap up the blood of the demon before it fell on the ground.

Hindu rulers often prayed to the Goddess for protection before battle.

Photograph March 2000 George P. Landow may be used without written permission for any educational purpose. Any commercial or other use requires prior written permisison from .


Vidya Dehijia, (ed), Devi. The Great Goddess. Female Divinity in South Asian Art. Washington, D.C., Arthur M. Shackler Gallery, 1999.

Related Web Sites

[Main Web
Page] [Singapore] Visual Arts [Religion]

Last updated 16 October 2001.