2021 Dussehra celebrations at Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada

Dussehra Navaratri is known as Devi Navaratrulu / Sharad Navaratrulu by the people of Andhra Pradesh. The nine days (actually nights) of Dussehra festival are 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 (2021) the festival celebrations at Kanaka Durgamma temple begin on Aswayuja Suddha Padyami Thursday 7th October 2021 and end on Aswayuja Suddha Dasami (Vijaya Dasami) Saturday 15th October 2021.

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

  1. Swarna Kavacha Alankruta Durga Devi (Golden Armor) on Aswayuja Suddha Padyami - Thursday 7th October 2021

    On the 1st day of Devi Navaratrulu celebrations, Durga Devi is dressed completely in gold armor i.e swarnakavacha. In this 'alankara' Durga Devi with 8 arms (ashta bhuja) appears as 'simha vahini' i.e seated on lion. The goddess has 'Shankham' (conch), 'Chakram' (disc), 'Gada' (mace), 'Soolam' (trident), 'paasam' (string), 'Maha khadgam' (sword) and 'Parasu' (axe) in Her arms. Pulihora is offered as naivedyam on this day.
  2. Bala Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Vidiya - Friday 8th October 2021

    On the 2nd day, Kanaka Durgamma is dressed in light pink sari in Bala Tripura Sundari Devi alankaram. It is believed that one will be blessed with children on worshiping Her. Payasam i.e kheer is offered to Her as naivedyam.
  3. Gayatri Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Tadiya - Saturday 9th October 2021

    On the 3rd day, Ammavaru is dressed in orange sari and appears in Vedamata Gayatri Devi alankaram is with 5 faces.
  4. Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Chaviti (chaturthi) - Sunday 10th October 2021

    Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi resides in Manidweepam and is Sree Vidya Roopini. On the 4th day of Dussehra utsavalu, Kanaka Durgamma is dressed in pure golden color sari 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.
  5. Sri Annapoorna Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Sashti - Monday 11th October 2021

    Durgamma is dressed as Annapoorna Devi on the 6th 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. The goddess is dressed in sandalwood color sari on this day.
  6. Sri Mahalakshmi Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Saptami - Tuesday 11th October 2021

    With the lotus in both Her hands, Durga Devi is in Mahalakshmi alankaram on the 7th 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. On this day Ammavaru is dressed in pure pink sari.
  7. Sri Saraswati Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Saptami - Wednesday 12th October 2021

    On the 5th day i.e on Suddha Panchami day when it is Moola Nakshatram (star), Durgamma is dressed in pure white sari 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.
  8. Sri Durga Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Ashtami i.e Durgashtami day - Thursday 13th October 2021

    Vijayawada Kanaka Durgamma is beautifully dressed red sari 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.
  9. Sri Mahishasura Mardhini Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Navami i.e. Maharnavami day - Friday 14th October 2021

    Note: This year (2020) due to tithi dwayam (i.e. two tithis overlapping / falling on same day) Durgashtami and Maharnavami are celebrated on the same day i.e. on October 24th, 2020.

    On Maharnavami day, Durgamma is dressed in brown / red handloom sari 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.
  10. Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi Alankaram on Aswayuja Suddha Dasami i.e. Vijaya Dasami day - Saturday 15th October 2021

    Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi is the last alankaram of Kanaka Durgamma during Sharad Navaratrulu festival. The goddess is dressed in green sari on dasami day.
Photo credit: 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.

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