Ten Day Festival
One of the popular festivals in India, Dasara is celebrated in with great pomp and enthusiasm in most parts of the country. The celebrations differ in all the areas according to local customs and traditions. It falls on 18th October this year but the rituals start 9 days earlier. The Goddess Adishakthi is venerated with various names and forms; Durga, Kali, Annapoorna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Rajarajeswari, Bhavani, Sakambari, Saraswathi, Mahishasuramardini and other manifestations.
Although the festival lasts ten days, the last three are extra significant. Among the three types of worship during the first six days of Rajasa and Tamasa, animal offerings are made. While Coconuts are offered in the last three or Satvika days. It is believed that on the ninth day, Goddess Durga exterminated the cruel demon Mahishasura. According to legend, Goddess Parvatitook the avatar of Durga to slay the demon. The demon was granted many boons and couldn’t be slain by any God due to this. Then Aadi Shakti manifested as Goddess Durga, waged a war against him, which lasted for eight days. Finally, after a long drawn battle, She finally overpowered and annihilated him on the ninth day. These nine days are popularly celebrated as Navratri.
Victory of Good over Evil
The tenth day or Vijayadasami is the day of victory. Basically, Dasara is the celebration of good over evil and these ten days of veneration reverence and gratitude leads to triumph and victory. In addition to this mythology, the other legend associated with this festival is that it is believed Lord Rama slew Ravana – the King of Lanka and got back Seetaon the day of Vijaya Dasami.
Sreevari Brahmotsavaalu at TTD
Sreevari Brahmotsavaalu at Tirumala witnesses a heavy throng of devotees every year. People from all corners of the country come in huge numbers to participate in the grand Brahmotsavaalu at Tirumala; the abode of Lord Venkateswara during the Dussehra Navaratri. As it is said to be an auspicious time they come to pay their reverence and seek His blessings. The Sreevari Brahmotsavaalu start on the second day after Amavasya and ends on the Vijaya Dasami day with the Chakra Snaanam which concludes the Utsavaalu or festivities. Each night of the ten-day festival, the Utsava Vigrahaalu or Idols and Vaahanam or vehicle of the Lord are exquisitely bedecked with different embellishments.
Celebrations in Vijayawada
Vijayawada is home to the resident deity Kanakadurga and Dasara is celebrated with much pageantry for all the ten days. The remarkable feature of the festival here is that the Goddess is adorned with different avatars on every day of the festival, which is magnificent. The Alankaram of the day is selected as per the astrological star of each day according to the lunar calendar. Generally, the festival begins with Sri Swarna Kavachalankrita Durga Devi alankaram on Asviyuja Suddha Padyami or the first day.
According to the priests the presiding deity, Goddess Kanaka Durga will be decked up as Sri Mahishasura Mardhini and Sri Rajarajeswari Devi on the last day. This year the Navami and Dasami fall on the same day on October 18. Sri Bala Tripura Sundari Devi Sri Gayatri Devi, Sri Lalita Tripura Sundari Devi, Sri Sarswati Devi, Sri Annapoorna Devi, Sri Mahalakshmi and Sri Durga Devi are the other Alankarams.
The Goddess Kanaka Durga radiates with stupendous beauty with Her beatific smile and tranquil eyes blessing her devotees. The highlight of the ten day festivities is a celestial boat ride of the Goddess with her Consort on the HamsaVaahanam or Swan Boat on the river Krishna. During Dasara, special pujas like Saraswati puja and Teppotsavam are performed. Schools declare holidays for these 10 days and families visit the temples and pandals all over the city, wearing new clothes. There is a lot of feasting on the Prasadams, sweets and other special foods. Pilgrims from far and wide attend the lively celebrations and take a holy dip in the Krishna River.
The Dasara festival is the precursor to the much loved and anticipated festival of lights, Diwali which follows after twenty days.