Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous Hindu Temple of Goddess Kanaka Durga located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River. Kaalika puraana, Durgaa sapthashati and other vedic literature have mentioned about Goddess Kanaka Durga on the Indrakeelaadri and have described the deity as Swayambhu, (self-manifested) in Triteeya kalpa.
According to a legend, the now verdant Vijayawada was once a rocky region strewn with hills that obstructed the flow of River Krishna. The land was thus rendered unfit for habitation or cultivation. Invocation to Lord Shiva for His intervention directed the hills to make way for the river. And lo! the river started flowing unimpeded with all its might, through the tunnels or "Bejjam" bored into the hills by Lord Shiva. That is how the place got its name Bezawada. One of the many mythologies associated with this place is that Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva on top of Indrakeela hill to win His blessings and the city derived its name "Vijayawada" after this victory.
Another popular legend is about the triumph of goddess Kanakadurga over the demon King Mahishasura. It is said that the growing menace of demons became unbearable for the natives. Sage Indrakila practiced severe penance, and when the goddess appeared the sage pleaded Her to reside on his head and keep vigil on the wicked demons. As per his wishes of killing the demons, Goddess Durga made Indrakila Her permanent abode. Later, She also slayed the demon king Mahishasura freeing the people of Vijayawada from evil. At the Kanakadurga temple, the enchanting 4-foot-high (1.2 m) icon of the deity is bedecked in glittering ornaments and bright flowers. She is shown eight arms, each holding a powerful weapon, in a standing posture over the demon Mahishashura and piercing him with her trident. The goddess is the epitome of beauty. Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swamy on the Indrakiladri. By ascending the steps on the hill, one comes across little images of different deities, prominent among them are Kali, Shiva, and Krishna.
Kanaka Durga Temple is synonymous with Vijayawada. It is mentioned in the sacred texts. This is the place where Arjuna obtained the Pasupatha astra after his great penance for Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed for Goddess Durga by Arjuna. It is connected by steps and a ghats road. The temple occupies an important place in the scriptures as several of the Siva-leelas and Shakti-mahimas were enacted on or around it, making the region a place of unequaled spiritual significance and attracting pilgrims since times immemorial. It is mentioned in the Vedas that the deity in the Kanakadurga temple is regarded as 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested, hence considered very powerful. Inscriptions of different dynasties are found in the temple.
Special pujas are performed during Dasara also called Navaratri. The most significant are Saraswati puja and Theppotsavam. The festival of Dasara for Goddess "Durga" is celebrated here every year. A large number of pilgrims attend the colourful celebrations and take a holy dip in the Krishna river.
Located in the heart of Vijayawada city, the temple is just a 10 minutes drive from the railway station and Bus stand and about 20 km from airport. Vijayawada is located 275 kilometers from Hyderabad. It is well connected by road, rail and air from all parts of the country.
Dasara Festivities Of Devasthanam:
Sri Kanaka Durga Devi, the chief deity of the temple is portrayed as blessing the visiting devotees in various forms (avatars) during the ten day festival. A symbolic representation of the 10 forms of triumph of good over evil, this form (known as 'Alankaram') of the day is chosen as per the astrological star of each day, in accordance with the lunar calendar.