Updated: Jul 29
Well not many of us know that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati also had a daughter by the name of Ashok Sundari. Most of us only know of their sons, Ganesh, and Kartikeya. Ashok Sundari was the 2nd child born after Kartikeya.
Kartikeya left Kailash and moved down south to fight demonic forces there. After his departure, Parvati started feeling very lonely and missed having her child around. One day she asked Shiva to take her to the most beautiful garden. Shiva took Parvati to Nandanvan. Parvati was mesmerized with the beauty of the garden. The garden also had a wish full filling tree called Kalpavriksha. Parvati longed for a child and hence made a wish to the divine tree. The boon was granted and she was bestowed with a divine beautiful daughter. They named her Ashok Sundari. Ashok Sundari grew up in the hills of Kailash under the guidance of Shiva and Parvati. Parvati also told her that she was destined to marry Nahush (King of the Lunar dynasty). Being Shiva and Parvati's daughter she was deeply inclined towards the study of this cosmos. She underwent strict penance to achieve Nahush just as her mother Parvati did to marry Shiva. Once a demon named Hunda saw Ashok Sundari and fell for her beauty. He persuaded her but Ashok Sundari outright rejected his advances. Then he decided to kidnap her by disguising himself as a poor helpless widow. When Ashok Sundari came to know of his evil plan, she cursed him and said that he shall die in hands of her future husband Nahush.
Nahush was the son of king Ayus and queen Prabha. When Hunda got to know of his birth, he got scared as Nahush was going to kill him someday. He decided to kidnap the baby and kill him. However, Hunda's servant managed to save Nahush and left him under the guidance of sage Vashisht. After a few years, Nahush got to know about all. As grew up he went on to fight Hunda and killed him. After this, he got married to Ashok Sundari. Post marriage their son Yayati was born along with 100 other daughters.
Ashok Sundari doesn't enjoy a lot of popularity and fame as Ganesh and Kartikeya do. Some say that this is because she got married and did not stay with Shiva and family for long, while some other stories say that she was cursed by Parvati. When Ganesh was beheaded by Shiva, Ashok Sundari was present at the scene. She got scared looking at her father's fiery nature and instead of saving Ganesh, she hid behind a huge lump of salt. When Parvati came out and saw her son lying dead she became furious. She then saw Ashok Sundari hiding behind the salt. She then cursed Ashok Sundari that she shall become a part of this salt as she was not courageous. This is why Ashok Sundari is also related to salt without which the food seems tasteless.
Ashok Sundari is referred to as Bala Tripurasundari in South India and there a few temple
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