One of the most revered temples in India dedicated to the goddess Durga, the Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh naturally celebrates Navratri in a grand way. The nine-day festival associated with the goddess is celebrated across India in a few different ways, but nothing is quite like the rituals followed at the Kanaka Durga Temple. The temple, lying on top of Indrakiladri hill along the banks of the Krishna River, is steeped in legend. It is said the sage Indrakila called upon the goddess to destroy demons that were terrorizing the people of the region. The goddess took on many forms to kill the demons, including the powerful Mahishasura. She asked the sage to take the form of a hill so that she may continue to reside by the river, and to this day she continues to watch over the people. Navratri celebrations last for ten days here, and each day a different form of Durga is worshiped. ALSO READ: Navratri 2017: 5 Interesting Facts about Shailputri Temple in Varanasi Also Read - Navratri 2020 Day 5, March 29: Worship Maa Skandamata; Know Puja Vidhi, Fast Time, Mantra
Swarna Kavachalankrita Durga Devi
On the first day of Navratri, called the Asviyuja Suddha Padyami, the deity is dressed in several gold ornaments with a trident in her hand. It is said that the goddess, in this form, gifted the local king Madhava Varma gold for his unwavering sense of justice. The king is said to have executed his own son for killing an innocent child. Also Read - Navratri 2020 Day 4, March 28: Worship Maa Kushmanda; Know Puja Vidhi, Fast Time, Mantra
Bala Tripurasundari Devi
This form of the goddess is in the form of a small child, the daughter of the god Kameshwara’s consort, Tripurasundari. It is said that, at the tender age of nine, the child goddess went forth and vanquished all 30 sons of the demon Bhandasura. Also Read - Thanks to Facebook, Andhra Girl Who Went Missing 12 Years Back Finally Reunited With Her Family
A popular deity in her own right, Annapoorna Devi is the third form that the Kanaka Durga takes. She is an incarnation of the goddess Parvati, and is worshiped as the giver of food and nourishment. Despite her popularity, very few temples stand today that venerate the goddess. CHECK OUT: Navratri 2017: 9 Durga Temples in India Dedicated to 9 Forms of the Goddess
An amalgamation of the goddesses Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati, Gayatri Devi is personified as a five-headed god seated on a lotus. Each head is said to signify one of the four Vedas, with one represent the god herself. She is said to be a consort of Brahma, creator of the world.
Lalitha Tripurasundari Devi
The mother of Bala Tripurasundari Devi, Lalitha Tripurasundari Devi is said to be one of the ten Mahavidyas, manifestations of the goddess Parvati. She is said to have started the war against the demon Bhandasura after the gods called on her.
A painting of goddess Saraswati from the British Museum archive, Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
First mentioned in the ancient Rigveda, Saraswati is worshiped as the goddess of the arts, music, wisdom and knowledge. She is venerated in India and Nepal, as part of a trinity that includes the goddesses Parvati and Lakshmi. The three goddesses, or Tridevi, were created to maintain the cycle of the universe.
Mahalakshmi Devi or Lakshmi is said to the goddess of prosperity and wealth, and is the consort and source of energy of the Hindu god Vishnu. The goddess is an important deity in other religions too, including Buddhism and Jainism, where she is worshiped in similar forms as well.
Priests worshiping goddess Durga
Fearless and powerful, Durga Devi is worshiped on the eighth day of the festival at the Kanaka Durga Temple. A manifestation of the mother goddess or Parvati, wife of the god Shiva, Durga plays an important role in Hindu mythology as the vanquisher of demons and all forms of evil, bringing peace and prosperity to the world.
Durga depicted in a painting, vanquishing Mahishasura
The form that goddess Durga takes when she takes on the buffalo demon Mahishasura, Mahishasuramardhini Devi. Importantly, she is always depicted as defeating the demon, but with a calm and serene expression on her face. According to the mythologies, Durga calmly defeats the shifting demons and challenges ahead of her, without losing resolve. NOW READ: Navratri 2017: Best Places To Visit During Navratri and Durga Puja
Raja Rajeshwari Devi
The goddess Raja Rajeshwari Devi or Gauri is the goddess of fertility, beauty and harvest. Closely associated with the festival of Holi, Raja Rajeshwari Devi is worshiped on the final day of the festival, ending it with prayers for good harvests and fertile fields in the coming year.