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Goddess Varahi Devi is a Hindu deity representing the feminine aspect of the all-pervading power of creation, which is inherent in all animate and inanimate beings. She is one of the Matrikas, a group of seven Mother Goddesses which are present in the form of ‘Shakti’, or power. Shri Varahi Devi is the female counterpart of Varaha, the boar Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The Goddess is the regent of the Northern direction and revered by most Hindu sects, including Vaishnavas, Shaivas and Shaktas.Worship of Varahi Devi is often carried at night, using secretive Vamamarga Tantric practices. She is called Barahi in Nepal and the Buddhist goddesses Vajravārāhī and Marichi are also widely believed to be a form of the Goddess.
Goddess Varahi is depicted in the form of a boar, wielding a discus and a sword, with which she dispels evil forces when needed. She is sometimes depicted seated on a preta (corpse) while using her mighty tusks to fight demons. The Goddess is depicted as standing, seated or dancing and wears the Karanda Mukuta (a conical crown). She is also portrayed as having all the various attributes of Lord Vishnu and sometimes associated with holding the Universe in her womb.
Ancient Hindu religious texts depict the Matrikas as Shaktis which form the feminine aspect of the Gods. Thus, Goddess Varahi forms the female counterpart of Varaha. According to Devi Mahatmya, Goddess Durga creates the Matrikas from her own self and leads them in a battle against the demon Raktabija. Goddess Varahi is shown riding a buffalo, while wielding a sword, shield and goad, going headstrong into battle with the demon army. With the help of the Matrikas, Durga slaughters the demons; and when she is challenged to single combat by the demon, she absorbs the Matrikas into herself. The Matrikas or Mother Goddesses slay evil forces and drink their victim’s blood to intimidate other demonic creatures.
Varahi is sometimes described as the Goddess of darkness and the ideal time recommended to worship her is after sunset and usually in the middle of the night. Some temples even make offerings of wine, fish, grain and meat to the Goddess, which may not be entirely based on facts, because the tenets of Hinduism usually advocate the use of vegetarian offerings.
The Goddess is revered by devotees as the granter of boons and destroyer of enemies. She is also a focal point of Tantric worship and people pray to her for leading a long and prosperous life.
Several temples dedicated to Varahi Devi as the chief deity are found all over the Indian sub-continent. Apart from that, Varahi is worshiped in some temples as part of the Sapta-Matrika. She is the primary deity of the Varahi Chaurasi temple in Orissa, where she is worshped according to tantric rites. She is also worshiped as Patala Bhairavi in some temples. There is also a Varahi temple in Mylapore, in the city of Chennai. A shrine of the Goddess is also present in the Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur. One more prominent temple of the Goddess is located in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. There is also a prominent temple of the Goddess in Gonda district of Gujarat. Several temples of the Goddess can be found in Nepal, and many other countries, including the United States and Malaysia. Generally Pujas are performed on (Amavasya) new moon and (Pournami) full moon days, when the Goddess is decked up with ornaments and other finery.