At a Mahankali temple in Hyderabad, Unjal Seva is offered to Goddess Durga

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This special article describes one of the most important and beautiful festivals of India-Navratri and its significance. Khushboo Agrahari (Author) describes this spiritual celebration in a unique way and demonstrates how it is celebrated. As well as covering Unjal Seva in Mahankali Temple in Hyderabad, devotees’ words, and Nakshatra Aarti, she also covered other cultural performances during the festival. Videos are also available for your viewing pleasure.

Nakshatra Aarti

India is celebrating feminine energies in various forms. It is the 6th night of celebration and 3 days remain for worshipping Goddess. One such unique offering is Unjal Seva given to Maa Durga during Navaratri which is very dear to Devi herself starting from the new moon of the Hindu month of Ashwin, the most auspicious time till the ninth day. In the Unjal Seva ritual, the idol of Maa Durga is seated on the Unjal or swing in the Mandapam decorated with lighting lamps all around and flowers to please Devi Swaroopa followed by the chants of Vedas to the accompaniment of the Mangala Vadhyam or the Sacred Musical Instruments.

One of the famous Unjal Seva is offered to the Goddess Durga at a historic age-old Miralam Mandi Mahankali temple located in the state of Telangana at Hyderabad during the Bathukamma festival in Navaratri. While north India celebrates Navratri, Durga Puja, or Dasara, Telangana (and parts of Andhra Pradesh) observes Bathukamma, said to be a symbolic expression reflecting the connection between earth, water, and human beings.

Unjal Seva

Made of flowers, the Bathukamma means ‘Mother of Life is a collection of flowers stacked one layer at a time and rising in a series of concentric circles. It can be compared to the ‘gopuram’ seen in the temples of southern India. A symbolic expression reflecting the connection between earth, water, and human beings. During this time women in the household thank her for the harvest and seek her blessings for prosperity.

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“I am blessed to be a caretaker of Devi Maa and other deities present on the temple premises. I took over the reign from my ancestors long back in my youth since then I put my heart and soul into serving Ammavaru by observing all rituals and traditions with full enthusiasm keeping the age-old legacy alive. Just by looking at her face, one is blessed beyond measure. The facial expression of Devi Mahankali changes to different forms Soumya, Rudra, Hasa & Krodha Rupa with the light of Aarati made her famous all over the world. Devotees must come at least once in a lifetime to seek her blessings.”

-Shri Gajula Anjaiah (Chairman) Mahankali Devalayam temple

Mahankali Devalayam temple was established in 1809 as a small temple in one of the busiest streets of Hyderabad in Miralam Mandi where farmers use to come to sell their vegetables and performed pooja under the tree.

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Several years later in 1986 Gajula Anjaiah took over the reign and became president and the chairman of the temple committee. Gradually with time and his dedication he developed the temple premises and has kept the legacy alive to date by performing all traditions. It is one of the very famous temples in India of the Goddess of power, riches, and benevolence and the presiding deity is thronged by thousands of devotees for worship during the Navarathri festival which is celebrated with religious fervor, pomp, and festivity.

Mahankaleshwara Devalayam
Mahankaleshwara Devalayam

The ancient temple of Mahankaleshwara Devalayam abounds with legends of historical interest. During the nine days, special sevas are offered such as Maha Chandi hawan, kumkuma pooja, unjala Seva, and ekanta seva to the Goddess Durga. She is the name for Strength, love, and the epitome of beauty. One gets mesmerized and feels truly blessed looking at her different glorious forms of Sri Saraswati, Sri Maha Lakshmi, Sri Bala Tripura Sundari, Sri Rajarajeswari, Sri Mahishasura mardini, Sri Durga devi, Sri Annapurna devi, Sri Gayatri, Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari.

‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ nature looks more beautiful

Durga – the goddess of power and strength, is perhaps the most important goddess of the Hindus. She is a multi-dimensional Goddess, with many names, personas, and facets. ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ nature looks more beautiful with the lighting of the lamps and the fragrance of the flowers attracts each one of us for celebrations with many incredible things supporting the beauty of the life of human beings. The entire universe dips in the bhakti of the Divine Mother with nine days dedicated to each manifestation of Maa Durga with unique offerings of flowers and prasadam (special prepared /offered food by people). From her favorite flowers to her most glorious Sringaar adorning silver gold and precious gems adding beauty to her divine Swaroopa. 

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Sri Balatripura Sundari Devi, Hydrabad

She is the destroyer of evil

Goddess Durga represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the universe. She is the energy aspect of the Lord.

As Mahishasuramardini or Shakti, she is the destroyer of evil – with her ten mighty arms carrying lethal weapons she triumphantly slays the demon Mahishasura. From ferocious Maa Kali who turns black as the night and omnipotent in the ocean of life in rage and fury numbs the existential beings with her ferocious Swaroopa adorning her neck with a string skull as her garland to another manifestation as Parvati’s most serene, the pretty consort of Lord Shiva by his side in the snowy peaks of the Kailash Mountain. She is Bhawanithe, a symbol of life. She is Sati, the object of death. She is Basanti, the herald of springtime besides Amba, Jagadhatri, Tara, Ambika, and Annapurna. Durga, through all her forms, encompasses the essence of salvation and sacrifice. She is the divine mother of bounty and wealth, as also as beauty and knowledge.

Goddess Durga represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the universe. No words can express the enlightening and ever charming beauty of Shakti which is a primordial source of unseen energy that sustains the entire universe.  

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