Durga is one of the most popular representations of the mother goddess in India, a concept which predates institutionalised religion and has parallels across the world. She is worshipped in Tantrism and Shaktism where the feminine energy and fertility associated with the mother goddess are venerated. In her warrior form slaying the demon Mahishasura, Durga is worshipped as Mahishasurmardini, and her victory symbolizes the triumph of good over the forces of evil within a human being. This event is celebrated anually during the 10 days of Durga Puja in the eastern regions of India. In western and northern India, the mother goddess is worshipped as Amba or Ambika. Ambika, or Kusmandini, is also an important yakshi in Jainism.
Mahishasurmardini has been a very popular theme in Indian art and has been richly represented in Hindu temples throughout the subcontinent. Similarly, the iconography of Ambika flourished in Jain temples. This photo essay compiles some of the most iconic representations of Mahishasurmadini and Ambika in Indian sculpture from various temples across India.