Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and
benevolence is considered the presiding deity of
Vijayawada. The temple is set
on the Indrakiladri hill. The deity in the Kanaka Durga temple is regarded
as 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested, hence is considered very powerful. It
is said that 'Adi Shankara' visited this temple and installed the 'Sri
Origin Of The Temple
About the origin of the temple, there are several versions. Legends are many, but claims are contradictory. Mata Kanaka Durga, according to one Purana emerged into this world by the power of penance of 'Sailasakthui', a manifestation of Indrakila hill itself to relieve the people from 'Asura' menace.
And another version affirms that this holy shrine is one among the eighteen 'Shakthipeethas', and she is one of the forms of Sakthi. 'Padma Purana' proclaims that Kanaka Durga is a manifestation of Parvati. Such accounts are countless, all eulogising her glory through several legends.
The most popular legend is about the triumph of Goddess Kanaka Durga over the demon king 'Mahishasura'. It is said that once upon a time, the growing menace of demons became unendurable for the natives living in this region. The sage 'Indrakila', did severe penance to appease Goddess Kanaka Durga.
Pleased, She asked him to spell out his desire. The sage begged Her to reside on his head and keep a vigil on the wicked demons and punish them for robbing the peace of the innocent people. His wish was granted and after killing the demons, Goddess Durga made Indrakila her permanent abode. Later she also slayed the demon king Mahishasura freeing the people of Vijayawada from the clutches of evil.
Kanaka Durga and Vijayawada are synonymous with each other. Every visitor to Vijayawada, however, busy he may be, never goes back without offering prayers to this goddess. Her devotees believe that when the level of the Krishna river rises and touches the nose ring of the goddess, that would be the end of the world.
The deity is 4ft high and is discernable even before one enters the 'Garbha Griha'. She reveals herself in sitting posture with eight hands adorned with eight potent weapons like 'Ari', 'Sankha', 'Keta', 'Sula', 'Pasa', 'Ankusa', 'Mourvi' and 'Sanaka', and is seen in a standing posture over the demon Mahishasura, piercing him with her trident.
The goddess bedecked in Jewellery is the epitome of beauty and grandeur. Sitting high up on the hill, she showers her blessings on her devotees, who worship her to bestow them with prosperity, health and wealth. The image is sculptured by a divine master artist, and is superb in details like posture, gestures, proportions of dimension, fitting to the stature chosen.
The temple authorities have made elaborate arrangements for devotees to have darshan from different points to suit one's convenience. The first is the special darshan from within the sanctum sanctorum in close proximity of the deity, and the second special darshan is from just outside the sanctum sanctorum. The 'Sarva Darshan' is from a distance.
Adjacent to the Kanaka Durga temple is the shrine of 'Malleswara Swami' on the Indrakiladri hill. By ascending the steps on the hill, one comes across little images of different deities, prominent among them being Kali, Shiva and Krishna.
The temple remains open for darshan from 4.30 am up to 10.30 pm. 'Archanas' are performed at 4.30 am, 8.00 am, 2.00 pm, and 6.00 pm. 'Lakshakumkum Archana' is performed everyday, except on Friday and Sunday. Chanting of mantras and devotional music euphonises the air in the mornings creating a serene atmosphere.
Of the many festivals, the ten day long 'Sarannavaratri' festival during 'Dasara' or Dusshera (from 'Asvayuja Suddha Padyami' to 'Dasami' (September-October)) and the 'Kalyanotsavam' of 'Rambha-Malleswara Swami' are celebrated with great religious fervour.On such occasions, the temples on the Indrakila hills are adorned in their festive best.
During the 'Navaratri' celebrations, Kanaka Durga is attractively draped and decorated in different forms for nine days - 'Bala Tripura Sundari', 'Gayatri', 'Annapoorna', 'Mahalakshmi', 'Saraswati', 'Lalita Tripura Sundari', 'Durga Devi', 'Mahishasura Mardani', and 'Raja Rajeswara Devi'.
Each day special 'Prasadams' are offered to the goddess and in the evening she is carried in a procession around the temple. On the tenth day, that is the Vijayadasami Day, goddess Kanaka Durga along with other deities, dressed in all her splendour, is carried on a decorated swan shaped boat in the Krishna waters. This is popularly known as "Nauka Viharam" and thousands of people gather at the riverbanks to witness this colourful ritual.
Devotees make each of the nine days a great event by lavish expenditure on illumination and sound and music.The festival season of Dasara is an auspicious occasion to visit the temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess.
Rail: The Kanaka Durga temple is
situated in Vijayawada, which
is well connected by rail with all the places within the state.
Road: Local buses and taxis are available to reach the temple. For pilgrims transportation buses are always available from the temple to all the places in the city.
Hotel accommodation is available in Vijayawada.