Temples of Bangalore- The Kalika Durga Parmeswari temple, Vidyaranyapura ©Sangeeta Venkatesh

Navaratri- the festival to celebrate the feminine energy or Shakti has just gotten over, but we need the grace of the Mother Goddesses at all time. The term Shakti refers to multiple ideas. Its general definition is dynamic energy that is responsible for creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe. It is identified as female energy because shakti is responsible for creation, as mothers are responsible for birth. 

There was an urge to visit this form of the cosmic energy and as legend has it and as devotees have experienced it, this energy is palpable in the Kalika Durga Parmeswari temple at Vidyaranyapura. As the name suggests, the main deity in this temple is Kalika Durga. It counts amongst the oldest temples of the city, which was renovated in 1988 by Late Sri. Ramu Sastry, an ardent devotee of Goddess Durga. 

The main gopuram is 108 feet tall and striking. As you enter the temple premises, the first sannidhi is that of Lord Ganesha. As you circumambulate clockwise, the next sannidhi is of Lord Krishna in his kalinga mardhana form.

Moving forward is the sannidhi of Lord Murugan with his consorts Deivanai and Valli. Opposite this sannidhi to the left is the Vijay Durga – the aggressive form of the goddess who conquers over all evil. I particularly, like to offer a garland of lemons to her here. Lemon garlands are special to Durga and it is believed that lemon nullifies the bad effects in one’s life. Durga is also the ruling deity of the ‘planet’ or graha Rahu (the lunar north node) and hence many devotees light lamps of cut lemon during ‘Rahu Kala’ of any day. These lamps as well as garlands are available with the vendors outside the temple.

As you circumambulate further, at the back of Vijayadurga is a shrine for Sharabheshwar. the legend of Sharabheshwara is as follows . It is said that after Lord Vishnu’s avatar Narasimha had slain the demon Hiranyakashipu and tasted his blood – he still clung on to this dreadful form- the Ugra Jwala Narasimha avatar.

The Universe was even more afraid of this form of Vishnu than they were of the demon itself. To pacify him, Shiva transformed himself as Sharabha, a part-lion and part-bird beast. With his wings, representing Goddess Durga and Kali, he embraced Narasimha to pacify him. But out of Narasimha emerged an even more fearful form: the Gandaberunda, having two heads and dreadful teeth. He was black in complexion and had wide blazing wings. This form got into a battle with Sharaba, and after eighteen days Gandaberunda won the battle and also calmed down.

As you go further, you see the shrines of Lord Hanuman, the Navagrahas , the Saptmatrikas (or the 7 mothers- Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Maheshwari, Narasimhi and Vinayaki). They are the feminine energy of brahma, Vishnu, Varaha, Indra, Shiva, Narasimha and Ganesha respectively. There is a tall statue of Yakshini Devi – a class of female nature spirits.

The main sanctum sanctorum has the Kalika Durga Parmeshwari in the centre; on the left is a shrine for Ekambareshwar and on the right is the shrine for Lord Venkateshwara. All around the main shrine are colourful statues of various gods and goddesses.

All around the temple, you can find priests conducting personal poojas with the devotees and the sounds of nadaswarams just activate the atmosphere. Steel tabletops are provided for devotees to light lamps for the goddess.

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