No one pays much attention to the villain, but Mahishasura has an interesting past. Here are 5 facts about this devious (but not very smart) buffalo-rakshasa:

1- Mahishasura’s father was a king of the asuras (demons) who fell in love with Princess Mahishi, who was cursed to be a water buffalo. This is why Mahishasura was able to change between human and buffalo forms at his will.

2- The name Mahishasura comes from the Sanskrit word for buffalo – mahish.

3- When Lord Brahma agreed to grant him a boon, Mahishasura requested that no man could kill him. He never thought a female could defeat him (like we said, he was not that smart).

4- As with all rakshasas, Mahishasura was a symbol for something evil: in his case, ignorance – as embodied in animal instincts.

5- The city of Mysore in Karnataka gets its name from Mahishasura – who reportedly was once a king there. The city’s famous Chamundeshwari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Chamunda (another name for Durga). The temple grounds contain a large statue of Mahishasura. It’s no wonder the Mysore Dasara Festival is so famous!


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