Dussehra Navaratri known as Devi Navaratrulu / Sharad Navaratrulu by the people of Andhra Pradesh, is celebrated in a grand way in Ammavaru temples across the state particularly in Vijayawada Kanakadurga temple
Kanaka Durgamma temple is located on a small hill named Indrakeeladri which is in the old town area. The Peepal tree in 1 Town Police Station and the surrounding area is considered as Durgamma's parent's house. A day prior to Dussehra celebrations in the temple, the area surrounding the peepal tree in the 1 Town Police Station is beautifully decorated. The idol of Durgamma which is under the peepal tree is carried to Kanaka Durgamma temple by the Police officials. The 1 town police officials then offer turmeric powder (pasupu), vermilion (kumkuma), silk sari (pattu cheera) and other items to Kanaka Durgamma.
Devi Navaratri Utsavalu begin after Durgamma is draped with the sari offered by Her parent's house i.e the police officials. This has become customary since long. Police officials take active part in Devi Navaratri celebrations. According to legends, during the rule of Kondaveeti Reddy Kings, Durgamma appeared in the dream of a soldier named Mangayya and directed him to dig Her out. As per Ammavari directions, the idol of Durgamma was dug out and placed under the peepal tree. From then onwards, it has become customary for the police officials to take active part in the Devi Navaratri Utsavalu.
This year the Utsavalu at Kanaka Durgamma temple begin on Aswayuja Suddha Padyami i.e on Sept 21 (Thursday) and ends on Aswayuja Suddha Dasami i.e on Sept 30 (Saturday) i.e Vijaya Dasami day. On each of the 9 days, Durgamma is dressed in different forms known as 'Alankaram' and worshiped in different names. Sharad Navaratri Utsavalu start with the Kalasha Sthapana Pooja.
Different Alankaras of Durgamma during Devi Navaratrulu
Thursday Sept 21 (Aswayuja Suddha Padyami) - Swarna Kavacha Alankruta Durga Devi
Pulihora is offered as naivedyam on this day.
Friday Sept 22 (Vidiya) - Bala Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram
On the 2nd day, Kanaka Durgamma appears in Bala Tripura Sundari Devi alankara. It is believed that one will be blessed with children on worshiping Her. Payasam i.e kheer is offered to Her as naivedyam.
Saturday Sept 23 (Tadiya) - Gayatri Devi Alankaram
On the 3rd day, Ammavaru appears in Vedamata Gayatri Devi alankaram is with 5 faces.
Sunday Sept 24 (Chaviti) - Annapoorna Devi Alankaram
Durgamma is dressed as Annapoorna Devi on the 4th day of Sharad Navaratrulu. In one hand She holds a bowl and in the other a ladle to serve food. Perugannam i.e curd rice and Katte Pongali are offered as naivedyam on this day to Durgamma in Annapoorna Devi alankaram.
Monday Sept 25 (Panchami) - Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram
Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi resides in Manidweepam and is Sree Vidya Roopini. On the 5th day of Dussehra utsavalu, Durgamma appears dressed in Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi alankaram. Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati are on the either side of Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi. Payasam is offered as naivedyam to the goddess on this day.
Tuesday Sept 26 (Shashti) - Sri Mahalakshmi Devi Alankaram
With the lotus in both Her hands, Durga Devi is in Mahalakshmi alankaram on the 6th day of Devi Navaratrulu. She is the goddess of wealth and prosperity and is worshiped the most by the devotees. Mahalakshmi is the unified form Ashta Lakshmi.
Wednesday Sept 27 (Saptami - Moola Nakshatram) - Sri Saraswati Devi Alankaram
On the 7th day i.e on Suddha Saptami day when it is Moola Nakshatram (star), Durgamma is dressed in the form of Maha Saraswati - the goddess of knowledge and learning. She is seated on Her vehicle swan with Madalasa (the stringed musical instrument Veena) in Her hand.
Thursday Sept 28 (Durgaashtami) - Sri Durga Devi Alankaram
Vijayawada Kanaka Durgamma is beautifully dressed in Durga Devi alankaram on Durgashtami day i.e the 8th day during Dussehra. According to legends, in this form Durga Devi killed an asura named Durgama.
Friday Sept 29 (Maharnavami) - Sri Mahishasura Mardhini Alankaram
On the 9th day, Durgamma is dressed as Mahishasura Mardhini. It is with this form that Goddess Durga beheaded the ferocious buffalo-headed demon named Mahishasura. This is a 'Simha Vahini' alankaram with a trident held in both the hands and other weapons in other arms. The day on which Mahishasura was killed by Durga Devi, is celebrated as Maharnavami.
Saturday Sept 30 (Vijaya Dasami) - Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi Alankaram
Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi is the last alankaram of Kanaka Durgamma during Sharad Navaratrulu festival.
Images Courtesy: www.durgamma.com
The festive celebrations end with 'Teppotsavam' when the 'utsava vigraham' is taken on a beautifully decorated / illuminated boat ride in River Krishna.