Saturday, January 16, 2010
VijayaWada Kanaka Durga Temple
Name : VijayaWada Kanaka Durga Temple
Location : Located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River.
There are lot of legends associated with this temple.
According to a legend, the now verdant Vijayawada was once a rocky region strewn with hills that obstructed the flow of River Krishna. The land was thus rendered unfit for habitation or cultivation. Invocation to Lord Shiva for His intervention directed the hills to make way for the river. And lo! the river started flowing unimpeded with all its might, through the tunnels or "Bejjam" bored into the hills by Lord Shiva. That is how the place got its name Bezawada.
One of the many mythologies associated with this place is that Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva on top of Indrakeela hill to win His blessings and the city derived its name "Vijayawada" after this victory. Another popular legend is about the triumph of goddess Kanakadurga over the demon King Mahishasura. It is said that the growing menace of demons became unbearable for the natives. Sage Indrakila practiced severe penance, and when the goddess appeared the sage pleaded Her to reside on his head and keep vigil on the wicked demons. As per his wishes of killing the demons, Goddess Durga made Indrakila Her permanent abode. Later, She also slayed the demon king Mahishasura freeing the people of Vijayawada from evil.
Legend has it that the demons acquired great powers by appeasing the Gods and began harassing the sages on the earth. Goddess Parvathi assumed various forms to kill these demons. It was kausiki to kill Sumbhu and Nisambhu, Mahisasura Mardini to kill Mahishasura and Durga to kill Durgamasura. "Kanaka Durga because she was aglow with golden hues, and prayed Her to stay on earth and bless them. Kanaka Durga asked Keeludu an ardent devotee to take the form of hill to enable Her stay on him. Thus Keeladri became the abode of Durga. She took the form of Mahisasura Mardini with eight arms holding different weapons, riding on a lion and trampling Mahishasura on the hill of Indrakeeladri. Her consort Shiva took his place on an adjacent hillrock as Jyothirlinga. He was worshipped by Lord Brahma with jasmines (Mallelu) whereby he got the name of Malleswara Swamy. As celestial beings like Indra visited the place, the hill came to be called Indrakeeladri.
Here it was according to another legend, that Arjuna performed penance and fought with Lord Shiva, who had appeared in the guise of Kiratha to win pasupathastra, the most powerful weapon. So this place is also called phalguna theertha.
When Indrakeeladri came in the way of the River Krishna the Gods requested the hill to allow the river to pass through it to join the sea. Keeludu obliged and gave a small passage for the river. But the ferocious Krishna made the passage larger than permitted and carried a part of the hill four miles downstream to Yanamalakuduru, where there is now a hillrock called "Thelukonda" or floating hillrock. According to another legend, Kanaka Durga borrowed the nose-stud of the Krishna and to avoid returning it jumped up the hill. Krishna vowed to take back her ornament by raising her level to the hill top by the end of kaliyuga.
The origin of the temple is unknown and it is believed that the deity of the temple is 'Swayambhu', that is self manifested. Hence the deity is believed to be immensely strong.
Adi-Sankaracharya visited the temple and installed the Srichakra and initiated workship of Kanaka Durga in vedic ways.
Hiuan Tsang, a Chinese traveler wrote that he has seen many stone inscriptions in the vicinity of the temple that revealed historic events.
Kanaka Durga is specially decorated as Balatripura Sundari, Gayathri Annapoorna. Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Lalitha Tripura Sundari, Durga Devi, Mahissura Mardini and Raja Rajeswari Devi on each day of the Narvarathri festival. On Vijaya Dasami day, the deities are taken in a swan-shaped boat around the Krishna river, popularity known as "Theppotsavam".
Though a ghat road was laid in 1969, most of the pilgrims prefer to climb the steps leading to the temple an arduons task for women and children. Some devotees climb the hill, decorating the steps with turmeric powder and vermilion to redeem their pledge of Metla Pooja.
Special pujas are performed during Dasara also called Navaratri. The most significant are Saraswati puja and Theppotsavam.
The festival of Dasara for Goddess Durga is celebrated here every year. A large number of pilgrims attend the colourful celebrations and take a holy dip in the Krishna river.
Vijaywada Kanaka Durga Devi Avatars during Dasara
Sri Kanaka Durga Devi, the chief deity of the temple is portrayed as blessing the visiting devotees in various forms (avatars) during the ten day festival. A symbolic representation of the 10 forms of triumph of good over evil, this form (known as 'Alankaram') of the day is chosen as per the astrological star of each day, in accordance with the lunar calendar. This year, the devotees are being blessed according to the following schedule of Alankarams:
Day 1 -SRI SWARNA KAVACHALAKRUTA DURGA DEVI
Day 2 - SRI BALA TRIPURA SUNDARI DEVI
Day 3 - SRI ANNAPURNA DEVI
Day 4 - SRI GAYATRI DEVI
Day 5- SRI LALITHA TRIPURA SUNDARI DEVI
Day 6 - SRI SARASWATI DEVI
Day 7 - SRI MAHA LAKSHMI DEVI
Day 8 - SRI DURGA DEVI
Day 9 - SRI MAHISHASURA MARDHINI DEVI
Day 10 - SRI RAJA RAJESWARI DEVI
Alankarams may change according to Thidis and nakshatrams every year.