Kanaka Durga Temple, Vijayawada

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Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous hindu Temple of Goddess Durga located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River. Kaalika puraana, Durgaa sapthashati and other vedic literature have mentioned about Goddess Kanaka Durga on the Indrakeelaadri and have described the deity as Swayambhu, (self-manifested) in Triteeya kalpa.

Legend

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 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.
At the Kanakadurga temple, the enchanting 4-foot-high (1.2 m) icon of the deity is bedecked in glittering ornaments and bright flowers. Her icon here depicts Her eight-armed form -each holding a powerful weapon- in a standing posture over the demon Mahishashura and piercing him with Her trident. The goddess is the epitome of beauty.
Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swamy on the Indrakeeladri. By ascending the steps on the hill, one comes across little images of different deities, prominent among them are Kanaka Durga, Malleswara and Krishna(River).

Festivities

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
Shakambhari : – The annual Goddess Shakambhari festival is celebrated in Ashadha month with deep piety and ceremonies. During the three day long festival goddess Kanaka Durga assumes the form of Shakambhari or Banashankari Amma of the Banashankari Amma Temple, wherein prayers are offered to the Goddess to bless all vegetables, agriculture and food so that they are plentiful and capable of nourishing the multitude. Shakambari festival is from 25 July to 27 July in 2018, as it is celebrated from Shukla Paksha Thrayodashi to Purnima, of Ashadha month every year.