Vijayawada is famous all over the world for the temple of Kanaka Durga, also called as Sri Durga Malleswara Swami Temple. The Kanaka Durga temple is situated on Indrakeeladri Hills of Vijayawada. Kanaka Durgamma as the locals call is the presiding deity and is said to be the Goddess of power, riches and goodwill. The temple is said to be the second largest temple in Andhra Pradesh and equally popular as Tirumala.
Mother Kanakadurgeswari seated atop the Indrakilaparvatha at Vijayawada is the supreme Goddess of Andhra Pradesh, attracting lakhs of tourists since time immemorial. This temple occupies a covetable place in the scriptures; for several of the Sivalilas and Saktimahimas were enacted on and around it, making the region a place of unparalleled spiritual eminence of everlasting significance.
The deity in the temple is considered very powerful as it is said to be Swayambhu (self-manifested). The great saint Sri Sri Sri Sankara Bhagavatpadulu (Adi Shankaracharya) visited this temple in 8th century and installed "Sri Chakra" at the feet of the goddess.
Kanaka Durga temple was constructed during the rule of Moghal rulers where the Moghal Emperor Thanisha, with the assistance of his Ministers Akkanna and Madanna, managed the temple. Their head quarter was based at Kondapalli during that period.
Inside the main temple premises, you can see sub-temples of Lord Sri Malleswara swamyvaru, Sri Nataraja Swami temple located on North East corner of Goddess. Sri Subrahmanyeswara Swami temple is located on North side of main temple.
There are inscriptions of different dynasties found in the temple. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller visited this temple. Thousands of devotees from various parts of the state and city visit the temple especially during Dussera festival in the month of September/October.
The nine days of Navarathri (in the month of September-October) is celebrated with great pomp. The goddess is decorated in nine different forms on each day- Balatripura Sundari, Gayathri, Annapoorna, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Lalitha Tripura Sundari, Durga Devi, Mahishasuramardini and Raja Rajeshwari Devi. On Vijaya Dasami day, the tenth day, the deities are taken in a swan-shaped boat, beautifully illuminated and decorated with flowers, around the Krishna River. This event is popularly known as "Theppotsavam".
Other interesting legends: There are some more interesting legends related to this temple and Goddess. When Indrakeeladri came in the way of River Krishna all the Gods requested the hill to give way to the river so that it merges with the sea. Keela obeyed and gave a small passage for the river but River Krishna occupied more place than necessary. Not only this, the river also took along with it a part of the hill four miles downstream to Yanamalakuduru, where it is called "Thelukonda" or "floating hillock".
It would be interesting to note that the nose-ring of Goddess Durga is never removed in this temple. As per the legends, Goddess Durga once borrowed the nose-ring of Krishna and did not return it. Krishna took a vow that by the end of Kaliyuga it would take back the nose-ring by raising its level to the hill top.