One South Indian tradition tells of a dance contest between Shiva and Kali. After defeating the two demons Sumbha and Nisumbha, Kali takes up residence in the forest of Thiruvalankadu or Thiruvalangadu. She terrorizes the surrounding area with her fierce, disruptive nature. One of Shiva's devotees becomes distracted while performing austerities, and asks Shiva to rid the forest of the destructive goddess. When Shiva arrives, Kali threatens him, claiming the territory as her own. Shiva challenges Kali to a dance contest; both of them dance and Kali matches Shiva in every step that he takes until Shiva takes the "Urdhvatandava" step, by vertically raising his right leg. Kali refuses to perform this step, which would not befit her as a woman, and became pacified.
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