Shri Kanakadurga Temple, Indrakiladri, Vijayawada
The Kanakadurga Temple at Vijayawada is one of the most famous religious centres of Andhra Pradesh and is synonymous with Vijaywada and Telugu culture. 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). 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. 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.