Spiritually Inspiring Kanaga Durga Temple of Vijayawada

Kanagadurga ,temple, Vijayawada. www.durgamma.com
Kanagadurga temple, Vijayawada,www.templedetails.com
 Kanaka Durga Temple, dedicated to  Goddess Durga  and located on the Indrakeeladri hill, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, is a popular place of worship and of spiritual significance.  Adjacent to the hill lies the Krishna river, People who come to this city on holiday,  make it a point to visit this shrine. Situated in the main part of the city, the temple is just a 10 minutes drive from the railway station and Bus stand and about 20 km from airport. The city is  well connected by road, rail and air from all parts of the country.

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. 

Kanaga Durga temple, Vijayawada. www.amaravativoice.com
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
The following are some facts of interest:

.. Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swamy (lord Shiva) on the Indrakeeladri. There are other deities, prominent among them are Kanaka Durga, Malleswara and Krishna. The temple is considered as the second largest Durga temple in the state of Andhra Pradesh and one of the largest temples in the entire nation.

..   According to Kaalika puraana, Durgaa Sapthashati and other vedic literature, Goddess Kanaka Durga on the Indrakeelaadri  is in  Swayambhu form - self-manifested.

  ..    Kanaka Durga Temple is synonymous with Vijayawada. It is mentioned in the sacred texts.

  ..  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.