Annapurna is the goddess of food, cooking, and nourishment. She is an incarnation of devi Parvati. Anna means food and grains and purna means full or complete.

Annapurna devi sitting with platters of food in front of her

Annapurna and Shiva

Once Shiva and Parvati were playing the game of dice. In the following game Shiva lost his trident, his serpent and even his begging bowl. Shiva then became extremely angry. He left Kailasa for the forest where he met Vishnu. Vishnu told him to try to win back everything he had lost. When Shiva challenged Parvati again he won back everything he had lost in the previous game.

Parvati was suspicious of how Shiva had suddenly won after a really bad fortune. She called him a cheater with caused verbal arguments to happen between them in which Shiva said that everything we possess including food is maya. Parvati did not agree that food was maya. She wanted to know how the world would survive without food and disappeared.

Because of her sudden disappearance food started running out and natural catastrophes like droughts and no seasons occurred. Devas, asuras and humans started praying for food. Finally Parvati appeared in Kasipura (Varanasi) and started distributing food. Shiva appeared before her and Parvati fed him. Shiva then agreed that food is not maya since food is needed to nourish the body in which Atma resides.

Since then Parvati is worshiped as Annapurna devi, the goddess of food.


Her abode is the capital city of Kasi kingdom Kasipura, also called Varanasi.

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