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2020 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 (2019) the Utsavalu at Kanaka Durgamma temple begin on Aswayuja Suddha Padyami i.e on Sept 29 (Sunday) and ends on Aswayuja Suddha Dasami i.e on Oct 8th (Tuesday) i.e on 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

  1. Friday Oct 16th (Aswayuja Suddha Padyami) - Swarna Kavacha Alankruta Durga Devi

    On the 1st day of Devi Navaratrulu celebrations, Durga Devi is dressed completely in gold 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. Saturday Oct 17th (Aswayuja Suddha Vidiya) - Bala Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram

    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. Sunday Oct 18th (Aswayuja Suddha Tadiya) - Gayatri Devi Alankaram

    On the 3rd day, Ammavaru is dressed in orange sari and appears in Vedamata Gayatri Devi alankaram is with 5 faces.
  4. Monday Oct 19th (Aswayuja Suddha Chaturthi) - Sri Annapoorna Devi Alankaram

    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.
  5. Tuesday Oct 20th (Aswayuja Suddha Panchami) - Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi Alankaram

    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.
  6. Wednesday Oct 21st (Aswayuja Suddha Sashti) - Sri Mahalakshmi Devi Alankaram

    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 pink sari.
  7. Thursday Oct 22nd (Aswayuja Suddha Saptami - Moola Nakshatram) - Sri Saraswati Devi Alankaram

    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. Friday Oct 23rd (Aswayuja Suddha Ashtami) - Sri Durga Devi Alankaram

    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. Saturday Oct 24th (Aswayuja Suddha Navami i.e. Maharnavami) - Sri Mahishasura Mardhini Alankaram

    On the 9th day, Durgamma is dressed in 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. Sunday Oct 25th (Aswayuja Suddha Dasami i.e. Vijaya Dasami) - Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi Alankaram

    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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