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Bhavani Deeksha: Vijayawada Kanakadurga Maala

Bhavani Deeksha is the vrata dedicated to Goddess Kanakadurga of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. Bhavani Deeksha begins on the Karthika pournami or on the Utthana ekadasi during Karthika masa. This ritual is practiced for 41 or 21 days.

In 2012, Bhavani Deeksha begins on 24th November.

The devotees who take Bhavani Deeksha are known as Bhavani. They wear the red coloured shirts and dhotis . Women usually take the deeksha for 21 days after or before the menstrual cycle. They have bath in cold water everyday and practice the vrata. Simple vegetarian food is eaten while some people also fast for half a day.

Bhavani Deeksha is taken either at the temple or home. While visiting the temple, devotees take bath in the krishna river and have the darshan of the goddess. During the Bhavani Deeksha, the utsava murti of the Goddess is temporarily shifted to the Bhavani Mandapam in Kanakadurga temple. More than a million people take the deeksha every year.

During the deeksha period, devotees take bath in cold water in the early hours of the day , refrain from shaving, haircut and nail trimming. Some people also practice not wearing any footwear and sleep on the floor for the period of the deeksha. While going to visit the temple, they carry the irumudi which is a bag having two compartments, the front portion is reserved for keeping the offerings to the deity while the rear is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.

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