Sri Kanaka Durga Mata temple is situated at Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is ascribed to the worship of Sri Durga Devi in the form of Kanaka Durga. Vijayawada is also known as Vijayavatha.
The temple is called as Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Devasthanam.
The temple is situated on the top of the small hillock named Sri Indra Keeladri on the banks of the holy river Sri Krishna.
As per the legend, the temple is said to be described in Kalika Purana and Sri Durga Saptha Sathi.
At the main sanctum of Sri Kanaka Durga, Sri Mata is facing North-East. The presiding Deity Sri Kanaka Durga Devi is worshipped in different manifestations such as Sri Saraswathi, Sri Maha Lakshmi, Sri Bala Thiripura Sundari, Sri Raja Rajeswari, Sri Mahishasura Mardhini, Sri Durga Devi, Sri Annapurna Devi, Sri Gayathri and Sri Lalitha Thripura Sundari.
Sri Kanaka Durga Devi has eight arms. She is posing with the trident diminishing Mahishasur.
Both Sri Kanaka Durga Devi and Sri Malleswara Swamy are Swayambu forms, i.e self- manifested murthies.
As per the legend, once there was a Yaksha named Keela who was a devout bhakt of Maa Durga Devi. He did penance at the banks of Krishna river. Devi was pleased with his devotion and appeared before him. He had asked for a boon whereby Sri Durga Devi would remain in his heart.
Sri Durga Devi had granted that She would remain in his heart after She diminished the demons in Krutha Yuga. She also said that he would become a hill Keeladri.
After the end of Mahishasur, Sri Durga Devi had shone as Sri Mahishasura Mardhini with eight arms on the Keeladri hill. She then took abode on the hill as Durga Devi. As She took the sanctum in dazzling golden form, She is hailed as Sri Kanaka Durga Devi. The hill was then worshipped by Devas under the lead of Indra. Hence the hill is known as Indra Keeladri. The hill is also called as Sri Kanakachala.
As per another legend, river Krishnaveni had requested Indra Keeladri hill to leave Her a space to pass through. The hill had given only a small way. But with the flowing current, the river had taken a portion of the hill alongwith the flow. The chucked part of the hill is called as Thelukonda and it is situated at Yanamalakuduru.
Sri Brahma had surmised that Bhagwan Shiv also should take a sanctum at this hill. He did penance on Bhagwan Shiv and when He appeared, He had prayed that Maheshwar should have a temple in the hill in the form of Jyotirling. Bhagwan had consented for this. Sri Brahma had performed puja to the Shiv Ling with jasmine flowers which are called as Malle puvulu in Telugu. Hence Bhagwan Shiv is worshipped as Sri Malleswara Swamy and Sri Jayasena.
In Treta Yuga, Arjun, the mid pandava king had worshipped Sri Malleswara Swamy. In Kali Yuga, Sri Adi Sankaracharya had found that the Shiv Ling was neglected in a bush and re-consecrated the Shiv Ling in the northern part of Kanaka Durga Temple.
The main sanctum of Sri Durga Devi is in a mandapam which also has the sthala vruksha. We get the darshan of the Goddess from an elevated platform. Devotees submit sarees, blouse pieces, bangles, turmeric, Kumkum and Chandan to Devi as offering. The Kumkum prasad is given to the devotees once we come out of the main sanctum.
The vimanam of the main sanctum has gold platting.
We have to reach the next upper level to reach the Sannidhis of Sri Vinayaka, Sri Nataraja Swamy, Sri Durga Devi and other Deities on an elevated mandapam. After the darshan, we have to reach another upper level to have the darshan of Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy in Shiv Ling form which is self-manifested.
After the darshan of Sri Mahadev, we have to reach another upper level to have the darshan of Sri Subramanya Swami. He is flanked by Sri Valli Devi and Sri Devyani Devi on either side. After coming out of this sanctum, we have to again reach another upper level and get down.
From the Courtyard there, we can have the darshan of Swarna Vimanam of the main sanctum. We also get to have the darshan of Sri Lakshmi Ganapathy in Vishwaroopam.
During Ashada month, Sri Durga Devi is worshipped as Sri Bana Shankari Ammavaru and Sri Shakambari Devi. Special Pujas are done to the Devi with the harvest of vegetables, grains and fruits.
Ugadhi, Sravana Sukravaram, Varalakshmi Vratham, Navarathri, Durga Puja are some of the major festivals celebrated in the temple. In Karthika month, bangle festival is celebrated on the second day of Shukla paksha.
Sri Kanaka Durga Temple can be reached from anywhere in Vijayawada. Special buses to the temple are available from the Pandit Nehru Bus Stand and the Vijayawada Railway Junction. Autos / Taxis also ply upto the foothill where devotees throng the Krishna River for taking holy dip.
The temple is open from 04.00 A.M to 10.00 P.M with few hourly breaks in darshan.
From the Kalyana Ghat at the bottom, there are three ways available to reach the top. There is a seven storied complex at the site. For a ticket of Rs.100, one can reach the sanctum directly. Else, one can go up the stairs for seven floors and reach the temple. The steps are easily mountable. A free bus also runs from Kalyana Ghat to take the devotees to the top.