Tripurasundari (त्रिपुरा सुंदरी – “Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities”) or Maha-Tripurasundari (“Great Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities”), also called Shodashi (“Sixteen”), Lalita (“She Who Plays”), Lilavati/Leelavati (Playful, Charming), Lilavani/Leelavani (Having Playful, Charming Speech and Eloquence), Lilamati/Leelamati (Having a Playful, Charming Mind), Lalitambika (Playful, Charming Mother), Lileshi/Leeleshi, Lileshwari/Leeleshwari (Goddess of Divine Play), and Rajarajesvari (“Queen of Queens, Supreme Ruler”), is one of a group of ten goddesses of Hindu belief, collectively called Mahavidyas or Dasha-Mahavidyas. She is the foremost and the most important in Dasha-Mahavidyas. All other Mahavidyas concludes in Her vidya i.e. Sri Vidya. Her consort is Maha Kameswara Shiva. She is the highest aspect of Goddess Adi Shakti. Parvati is the complete incarnation of Lalita Maha Tripura Sundari. Tripurasundari is the primary goddess associated with the Shakta Tantric tradition known as Sri Vidya.
As Shodashi, Tripurasundari is represented as a sixteen-year-old girl, and is believed to embody sixteen types of desire. Shodashi also refers to the sixteen syllable mantra, which consists of the fifteen syllable (panchadasakshari) mantra plus a final seed syllable. The Shodashi Tantra refers to Shodashi as the Tripurasundari.There is a very popular saying among Sri Vidya tradition which is that “one has to be verily Shiva himself or in one’s last birth to get Sri Vidya. Since we are not Shiva, it has to be the last birth or when we get it, it becomes our last birth” and “One can worship Lalitha only if She wishes us to do so”.
ऊं त्रिपुर सुंदरी पार्वती देवी मम गृहे आगच्छ आवहयामि स्थापयामि।
बालार्कायुंत तेजसं त्रिनयना रक्ताम्ब रोल्लासिनों।
नानालंक ति राजमानवपुशं बोलडुराट शेखराम्।।
हस्तैरिक्षुधनु: सृणिं सुमशरं पाशं मुदा विभृती।
श्रीचक्र स्थित सुंदरीं त्रिजगता माधारभूता स्मरेत्।।