The Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous shrine dedicated to the Goddess Durga. Located in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh, this astounding architecture is built in Dravidian fashion. The small but ancient temple of Kanaka Durga , a top the Indrakeeladri hill on the banks of the Sacred river Krishna in Vijayawada abounds with legends of historical interest.
Indrakeeladri is unique in that it has been the chosen abode of Kanaka Durga and Her consort Malleswara as Swayambhu (the self-existent one). Here Durga is one the right side of Malleswara as against the tradition of Goddesses taking their position on the left of their consorts. This shows that Shakthi is predominant on the Indrakeeladri.
Legend has it that the demons acquired great powers by appeasing the Gods and began harassing the sages on the earth. Goddess Parvathi assumed various forms to kill these demons. It was kausiki to kill Sumbhu and Nisambhu, Mahisasura Mardini to kill Mahishasura and Durga to kill Durgamasura. Kanaka Durga asked Keeludu an ardent devotee to take the form of hill to enable Her stay on him. Thus Keeladri became the abode of Durga. She took the form of Mahisasura Mardini with eight arms holding different weapons, riding on a lion and trampling Mahishasura on the hill of Indrakeeladri. Her consort Shiva took his place on an adjacent hillrock as Jyothirlinga. He was worshipped by Lord Brahma with jasmines (Mallelu) whereby he got the name of Malleswara Swamy. As celestial beings like Indra visited the place, the hill came to be called Indrakeeladri.
According to another legend, Arjuna performed penance and fought with Lord Shiva, who had appeared in the guise of Kiratha to win pasupathastra, the most powerful weapon. So this place is also called phalguna theertha.
When Indrakeeladri came in the way of the River Krishna the Gods requested the hill to allow the river to pass through it to join the sea. Keeludu obliged and gave a small passage for the river. But the ferocious Krishna made the passage larger than permitted and carried a part of the hill four miles downstream to Yanamalakuduru, where there is now a hillrock called “Thelukonda” or floating hillrock. According to another legend, Kanaka Durga borrowed the nose-stud of the Krishna and to avoid returning it jumped up the hill. Krishna vowed to take back her ornament by raising her level to the hill top by the end of kaliyuga.
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. On Vijaya Dasami day, the deities are taken in a swan-shaped boat around the Krishna river, popularity known as “Theppotsavam”.
Adi-Sankaracharya visited the temple and installed the Srichakra and initiated workship of Kanaka Durga in vedic ways.
Hiuan Tsang, a Chinese traveler wrote that he has seen many stone inscriptions in the vicinity of the temple that revealed historic events.