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Home Eminent Columnists Sarvamangala

Sarvamangala

SarvamangalaKnowAP.com takes you through a magical journey across the weaving and craft centres of India. The writer of this column, Sarvamangala, has been associated with handlooms and handicrafts for 14 years. She has started and run, very successfully, a retail store in Secunderabad dealing with ethnic handlooms and ecofriendly craft/toys. She has her own outlet now....Anagha, in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad..

The business woman turned writer was earlier an airhostess with Indian Airlines. "I got into business and into handlooms by default", she says. I have an Air Force background and had no clue of how to run a business.But having got into it. she gave it her all.

She has travelled to the major weaving centres of Andhra Pradesh and other States of India and interacted with master weavers understanding the method of weaving from them and giving them colour and design inputs in return. Handlooms soon became a passion with her. "I realised the variety and scope of Indian handlooms after I got into it. The designs and combinations that can be made are endless and mind boggling...leaving one spellbound", she says. For instance, who could have thought that Kalamkari paintings could be appliqued on to sarees? or the traditional Lucknowi chikankari work done on Maheshwari sarees? or block prints on Kanjeevaram silks? or Jute infused into Tussar Silk sarees?

Read about all these and more in the forthcoming months in "Weaves and Crafts of India".

Road to Annavaram and Kanaka Durga

This time we will take the road that leads to two of the most popular temples in Andhra Pradesh; the Satyanarayana Swami temple at Annavaram and the Kanaka Durga temple at Vijayawada.

ANNAVARAM
Location: Annavaram, East Godavari
Deity: Annavaram Satyanarayana Swami

This temple is dedicated to Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami and is built atop the Ratnagiri hill. The temple is of recent origin and resembles a chariot. From the foot of the hill there is a path laid out in stone steps. There is no Sthalamahatmyam (epigraphic record) in the temple and the temple has its own choultries. The river Pampa is considered sacred and runs close to the temple. Devotees bath here and then go to the temple since the temple has no tank of its own. There is also a pathasala (school) for students. The Satyanaravana Vratham is dedicated to Vishnu Sahasranamam, which has to be performed on the Bhishma Ekadashi day at Annavaram.

There is a yantra here based on the Tripad Vibhuti Narayana Upanishad, and is a part of the Devarshi Sakha of Atharvaveda. The shrine is constructed in two stories, the lower one contains the yantra and the upper one contains the vigrahas of the Lord. The garba griha has four entrances. The center is like a panavattam under the Shivalinga, three peethas are constructed here and on top is the chiselled Beejakshara Samputi of the yantra. At the apex there is a monolith pillar and on top is the idol of the Lord with the goddess to the right and Shivalinga to the left. The idols are exquisite and covered in gold.

On the ground floor of the sanctum are the idols of Aditya, Ambika, Gananatha and Maheswara at the four corners with the Lord in the centre forming the Vishnu Panchayatanas. The main temple is constructed like a chariot with the four wheels. In the front of the main temple is the kalyana mantapa decorated in modern style. There are other shrines dedicated to Ramalaya, Vana Durga and Kanaka Durga. Goddess Vana Durga is said to be seen here every night going around the temple, guarding the Lord. The temple is built according to shilpa shastra and reminds one of the Prakriti (universe). The chariot acts as a symbol of the saatloks (seven worlds) underneath, and the seven above, with the sanctum at the heart ruling the universe. The wheels depict the Sun and the Moon. Thrikala archana is performed every day, to the yantra as well as the idols. Salagramas and Sri Chakram in crystal are worshipped along with the idols.

There is an interesting legend about the discovery of the idol. According to the legend, the Lord revealed himself in a dream to a person, wherein he told where his vigraha was abandoned on a hill without worship; and that the local people must consecrate again. The local people discovered the idol at the foot of a tree, worship was offered and the idol was installed at the present spot. The idol was discovered a little to the northeast of the main temple.

There are many festivals held in this temple including Kalyanam, Devi Navaratri in September, the Swayamvara Vardhanti of Sravana Sudda Ekadashi Day, Srirama Kalyana, the Kanakadurga Yatra, the Prabha Utsavam, the Teppa Utsavam and the Jalatoranam.

KANAKA DURGA
Location: Vijayawada
Deity: Kanaka Durga

The temple is located on the Indrakiladri hill. The deity Kanaka Durga is regarded as Swayambhu or self-manifested, and hence very powerful. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed the Sri Chakra here. This temple occupies a prestigious place in the scriptures. Many stories and legends regarding Shiva and Sakti are enacted around this place. The temple was constructed during the Regime of Moghal rulers. According to Sthalapuranam, Moghal Ruler Thanisha with the assistance of his Ministers Akkanna and Madanna managed the temple with head quarters at Kondapalli.

At the temple, the enchanting 4-foot-high (1.2 m) icon of the deity is bedecked in glittering ornaments and bright flowers. She is shown with eight arms, each holding a powerful weapon, in a standing posture over the demon Mahishasura and piercing him with her trident. The goddess is the epitome of beauty.

According to legend, Mahishasura earned the favour of Lord Shiva after a long and hard penance. Lord Shiva blessed him that no man or deity would kill him and only a woman could kill him. Pleased with this boon he became arrogant and started terrorizing people and killed them mercilessly. He even attacked gods and conquered the heavens. After their defeat the gods took refuge under Lord Brahma and they decided to create a woman who would possess the ultimate power to defeat Mahishasura. Pure energy was used to form Goddess Durga.

Kanaka Durga is specially decorated as Balatripura Sundari, Gayathri, Annapoorna, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Lalitha Tripura Sundari, Durga Devi, Mahissura Mardini and Raja Rajeswari Devi on each day of the Narvarathri festival. 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 is depicted. This form (known as ‘Alankaram’) of the day is chosen as per the astrological star of each day, in accordance with the lunar calendar. On Vijaya Dasami day, the deity is taken in a swan-shaped boat around the Krishna River, popularly known as ‘Theppotsavam’.

Though a ghat road is there, most of the pilgrims prefer to climb the steps leading to the temple, which is an arduous task for women and children. Some devotees climb the hill, decorating the steps with turmeric powder and vermilion to redeem their pledge of Metla Pooja.

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.

Month: November 2010.

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