Baby with Two Faces Revered as Goddess in India

April 8, 2008

Sushma and Vinod Singh of India with Their Daughter Lali, Worshipped as a Reincarnation of the Hindu Goddess, Durga

Lali, an almost-one-month-old baby girl born in India on March 11 with one head and two faces — including four eyes, two mouths and two noses — is being worshipped as a reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. Up to 100 people line up every day outside her parents’ modest home in the Saini Sunpura village, about 25 miles east of New Delhi, to touch the baby’s feet, offer prayers, seek the baby’s blessings and make montary offerings. Her mother, Sushma Singh, told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS): “When I saw my daughter for the first time, I was afraid of her but when the doctor said that aside from her two faces she was a normal child, I accepted her.” Lali’s grandmother, Maya, said that the infant “has been born as God wishes.”

Close-up of Lali, Born in India and Worshipped as a Reincarnation of the Hindu Goddess, Durga

Lali has craniofacial duplication (diprosopus), a rare congenital condition in which a single head has two faces. Except for her ears, all of her facial features are duplicated. While the birth defect often has serious health complications, Dr. Sabir Ali, the director of Saifi Hospital where Lali was born, said the infant is doing well. “She is leading a normal life with no breathing difficulties…She drinks milk from her two mouths and opens and shuts all the four eyes at one time,” he said. Neither Dr. Ali nor Vinod Singh, her father, see a need for surgery.

Doctors in New Delhi suggested a CT scan to see if the infant’s internal organs are normal. Cardiac malformations are also common with the disorder, and live births of children with diprosopus are extremely rare; infants often die soon after birth due to respiratory complications. However, Lali’s father said: “I don’t feel the need of [a CT scan] at this stage as my daughter is behaving like a normal child, posing no problems…My daughter is fine — like any other child,” he added. Well, not quite like any other child.

Hindu Goddess Durga Fighting the Buffalo Demon, Mahishasura

Village council member Jaipal Singh described Lali as “God’s gift to us,” adding that the baby has made the Northern India village famous. Daulat Ram, the village chief, said he wants to build a temple to Durga in the town. Durga, which means “the invincible” in Sanskrit, is an embodiment of Devi, the supreme goddess, in Hindu mythology. Durga has three lotus-like eyes and multiple arms. She’s considered an embodiment of creative, feminine energy, or Shakti.


Read more news about India, and a spectacular Hindu temple built in Toronto, Canada.

Photo credit: Gurinder Osan / AP

Copyright ©2008