She is Maha Devi, the Great Goddess, the Mother of all beings, divine and mortal. Taking the warrior form of Her avatar, Goddess Durga, She departs on Her lion mount to meet the demon. A battle of nine days and nine nights ensues, during which Devi decimates Mahisha’s armies using lesser Goddesses produced from Her own body.
In ‘chandi saptasati’, it is stated Sri Mahalakshmi Devi with ‘ashthadasa bhujas’ (eighteen hands) killed Mahishasura, and manifested in the same form at Indrakeeladri. Over a period of time, she popularly became as Kanaka Durga. She holds a trisula, a trident, in her hand, and rides a lion. Mahishasura Mardhini, in this appearance, has the powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara and armed with different kinds of weapons fought fiercely for nine days.