|Kanagadurga ,temple, Vijayawada. www.durgamma.com|
Among the Hindus, Durga worship is quite popular across India, though the methods of pooja rituals vary from place to place. Durga is the Mother goddess in Hinduism. There are many incarnations of Goddess Durga , popular being Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Jaya, Rajeswari and has nine appellations such as Kushmanda, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, etc. She is described by 108 names collectively called Ashtottara Shatanamavali of Goddess Durga which is a popular one.
According to the Devi Puranas, Durga is the warrior manifestation of Goddess Aadishakti or Aadi Parasakti. Durga means the invincible One. She is the Divine Mother of the Universe who had taken birth on Earth as Parvati to wed lord Shiva. She is also referred to as Lalita, a form of Maa Aadishakti Parvati. The Hindus, in particular, South Indian Brahmins believe that daily chanting or Parayanam of Lalitha Sahasranamam bestows welfare and prosperity on the families.
Durga pooja is quite popular in West Bengal and is part and parcel of the Bengali culture. In Tamil Nadu Pattiswaram Sri Durga temple near Kumbakonam is quite popular.
There are a few legends associated with Kanaga Durga temple and the city of Vijayawada. According to a legend, Vijayawada, which was earlier known as Bezawada, was once a mountainous region. The hills blocked the eastward flow of the river. So, the land was barren and unfit for cultivation and habitation. People, who needed water and food for survival, prayed to Lord Shiva for his intervention to make this place fertile . In order to facilitate the uninterrupted flow of the river through this rocky region, lord Shiva created tunnels or "Bejjam through the mountain. This is the reason why his place was referred to as Bezawada in the past. Later, having gained the necessary gradient, the river began to flow through this region toward the Bay of Bengal without
any impediments or hindrance. In the aftermath of this geomorphological change, the region became one of the most fertile ones in South India.
According to the other legend Arjuna, one of the five brothers of Pandava (from the Mahabarata) intensely prayed here on the top of the Indirakeela hill to lord Shiv for his victory against their enemies - Kauravas in the Kurushetra war and the lord blessed him with an Astra. The city derived its name "Vijayawada" after his victory.
Another popular legend is about the victory of goddess Kanakadurga over the demon King Mahishasura who and his associates terrorized the people and sages here.The people and the saints lived in constant fear of demon-king and his associates. His menace, having become unbearable, sage Indrakila practiced severe penance, and when the goddess appeared, he requested her to reside here and protect the people. Goddess Durga, at last, killed the demon king Mahishashura and made Indrakila her permanent abode. Since then people have been living here in peace and tranquility.
The goddess in the sanctum is a beautiful idol commonly referred to as Kanakadurga - 4-foot-high (1.2 m) with eight arms, each holding a powerful weapon, in a standing posture over the demon Mahishashura and with her trident piercing him. As part of temple rituals, she wears glittering ornaments and bright flowers - alangaram each day. She is an epitome of all that is good and at the same time she destroys all that is evil and cunning. She is symbolic of the victory over the evil. When devotees prostrate before her in her shrine, she blesses them, protects them and helps them get rid of their negative thoughts and grievances so that they can succeed in their endeavors.
.. This is the place where Arjuna got the Pasupatha Astra to fight in the Kurushetra war after his intense penance on Lord Shiva. The temple, it is believed, was constructed for Goddess Durga by Arjuna himself
.. The temple occupies an important place in the scriptures as several of the Shiva Leelas and Sakthi Mahimas had taken place in or around this place. Visiting this temple itself assumes spiritual significance. Our hopes and aspirations will get a boost upon visiting this holy place.
.. Special pujas are performed during Dasara / Navaratri. It is celebrated on a grand scale with religious fervor and lots of devotees visit this holy shrine during the festival time. The other festivals are Saraswati puja and Theppotsavam.
.. Dasara is a 10 day festival and each day the goddess takes the avatar of different forms: Kanaga Kavachakurta devi on the ist day, Annapurna Devi on the 3rd day, Durga Devi on the 8th day and Rajarajeswari on the final day. Each avatar is an embodiment of victory of the good over the evil.
.. It is mentioned in the Vedas that the deity in the Kanakadurga temple is regarded as 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested, hence considered very powerful.