Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vijayawada Temple Visit In Reverence

I have a special bond with Vijayawada, a city that is always bubbling with activity at any given time of the year. It is the third largest city in the State of Andhra Pradesh and is located on the banks of the Krishna River, bounded by the Indrakeeladri Hills where the magnificent Godess Kanakadurga Temple is located on hill top. The abode of Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and benevolence, is therefore the presiding deity of the city. The deity in the Kanaka Durga temple is regarded as Swayambhu [self-manifested ], hence is considered very powerful. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed the Sri Chakra here. The beauty of this temple is seen to be believed. The gold-plated Vimana gopuram of the Kanakadurga temple is the cynosure of all eyes on the temple premises [the photo in this blog]
I recently visited Vijayawada along with my wife primarily to stay with my parents for a couple of days during Dasara festival and to have darshan of Goddess Kanakadurga which has a mystique charm and grace particularly during these festive days. Thousands of devotees visit the Kankadurgamma temple during the "Navarathri festival" which commenced on 19th September amid religious fervour and gaiety. After performing the rituals, the temple will be opened at 3 a.m. when devotees can have uninterrupted darshan of the goddess till 11 p.m. We have reached the foot of the hill by afternoon before the pilgrim rush peaks generally in the evening. That being Sunday and second day of the festival, it was Sri Bala Tripura Sundari alankaaram as part of Dasara celebrations. The temple authorities ,the Government officials with Police & Volunteers have embarked on a series of steps to make common devotees to have hassle-free darshan and enable pilgrims to move from one place to the other with ease. Since devotees would head straight to the Durga temple atop the hill, the entire que route from the foot of temple is covered with tarpaulin to protect pilgrims from rain. The ghat road wore a colorful look with thousands of pilgrims reaching the temple in an orderly way and having quick darshan.
Visitors like us had a pleasant surprise at the foot of the hill, as we could purchase VIP Ticket of Rs. 200 per head, travel in a car to and fro temple atop the hill, have darshan as VIP by standing very nearer to the deity and collect 2 laddus prasadam. So far so good. But devotees could not get proper guidance and no assistince was provided to get clarifications by the staff or security personnel. On top of it, my footware kept in an unmanned stand disappeared. When I inquired with a nearby police official about the theft, he took it simple and had suggested me to pick whatever pair that suits me and cautioned to be careful as miscreants outnumbered the devotees this time. And he goes on telling that it has become difficult to nab the culprits as they are moving around with face mask in the guise of prevention of swin-flu. I read in newspapers that a power-tussle among temple staff and government departments resulted in lack of coordination and neglect in arrangements. Popular temples are generally well guarded and they have few stalls who take care of not only our footwear but also mobiles/ cameras / any other prohibited article just for Rs 1 or 2 with a token system. I wish the Vijayawada Kanakadurga temple authorities in future may open an assistance counter, outsource the pilgrim facilities and make available a suggestions & complaints book. Though the temple visit was in reverence, my return route was via Bata to buy and put on new footwear.
Resources: http://www.kanakadurgatemple.org or http://www.durgamma.com