Tripura Sundari

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Tripurasundarĩ ("Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities") or Mahã-Tripurasundarĩ ("Great Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities"), also called Śoḍaṣĩ ("Sixteen"), Lalitã ("She Who Plays") and Rãjarãjeśvarĩ ("Queen of Queens, Supreme Ruler"), is one of the group of ten goddesses of Hindu belief, collectively called Mahavidyas.

As Shodashi, Tripurasundari is represented as a sixteen-year-old girl, and is believed to embody sixteen types of desire. Shodashi also refers to the sixteen syllable mantra, which consists of the fifteen syllable (panchadasakshari) mantra plus a final seed syllable. The Shodashi Tantra refers to Shodashi as the "Beauty of the Three Cities," or Tripurasundari.

Tripurasundari is the primary goddess associated with the Shakta Tantric tradition known as Sri Vidya.


Tripurasundari is described as being of dusky, red, or golden in color, depending on the meditational form, and in sexual union with Shiva. The couple are traditionally portrayed on a bed, a throne, or a pedestal that is upheld by Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and Indra. She holds five arrows or flowers, a noose, a goad and a sugarcane or bow. The noose represents attachment, the goad represents repulsion, the sugarcane bow represents the mind and the...
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