Deity of the Day
Annapurna or Annapoorna from Sanskrit meaning the giver of food and nourishment. Also called অন্নদা (annadaa) in Bengali.) is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. Anna means “food” or “grains”. Purna means “full, complete and perfect”. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogized in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.
City of Kashi
Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and i is the causal body. Kashi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body.
Story of Parvati
Goddess Parvati was told by her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called māyā. The Divine Mother who is worshiped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of her manifestation of all that is material, she disappeared from the world. Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere, and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.
Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a kitchen. Hearing about her return, Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms, saying, “Now I realize that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.” Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with her own hands.
Since then Parvati is worshiped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.
This legend is similar like Poornavalli Thayar or Poorna devi. Brahma and Shiva both had originally five heads. one day Brahma went to kailasah. parvati could not recognise Brahma she was confused and concluded it was her husband “shiva”. she started to perform padha pooja(ablution of feet, considered an act of respect). Brahma knew this fact but he remained silent. On seeing this shiva understood that parvathi had no intention she was unaware that one before who stood was not Her lord but it was brahma. Enraged in anger he plucked the brahma’s fifth head which resulted in “Brahmahatthi dosham” (sin resulted due to murder of brahmin”). The fifth head of brahma stuck in shiva’s hand. shiva wandered and visited temples to be relieved from the curse.To find salvation from the curse, Shiva went around the world on a pilgrimage begging for food, with Brahmma’s skull as the begging vessel. Every time someone filled the vessel with food, it vanished immediately, to Shiva’s horror. While coming to Thirukkarambanoor or Bhikshandar Kovil Uthamar Kovil Vishnu requested his consort Lakshmi to give alms to Shiva. Shiva’s grail was filled by the alms and Lakshmi came to be known as Poornavalli (the one who filled the grail). She got rid off shiva’s hunger completely. since shiva came with a begging bowl and his hunger was entirely satisfied At Uthamar Koil, Goddess Lakshmi filled the vessel with food, thus ending Shiva’s hunger
Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of her names. She is variously described as:
- She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
- She who gives nourishment
- She who is the strength of Shiva
- She who is the grantor of knowledge
- She who takes away all fear
- She who is the Supreme welfare
- She who manifests truth and efficiency
- She who is beyond Maya
- She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
- She who is adi sakthi
Additional names and attributes of Goddess Annapurna as given in Annapurnashtakam Adi Sankaracharya who is also called Jagat -guru ( teacher of the World) in his famous hymn entitled Annapurnashtakam describes Goddess Annapurna in wonderful words. Additional names and attributes given to the Goddess in this Ashtakam describe not only Goddess Parvati but also the other Goddesses like Saraswati, Lakshmi and also Goddess Durga or Kali. It can also be mentioned in this context that Goddess S’akambari Devi also appears to be another name (perhaps the original name) of Goddess Annapurna.
The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.
In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.
The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed.
In Kerala there is temple in Chalappally village by the name Kunnam Annapoorneswari Devi Temple. Another famous temple of the goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala by the name Annapurneshwari Temple, Cherukunnu. In Thodupuzha town, there is Thachukuzhikavu Annapoorneswari-Bhadrakali-Navagraha Temple.
A temple for Annapoorna has been constructed near Watrap, on the way to Saduragiri. The temple is in the shape of eight-sided pyramid.
One more Annapurna Devi temple is under construction at Pathikonda, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh. In Hyderabad, her temples are found in Jafferguda. Her temples are there in Jalandhar and Bhatinda in Punjab.
In Maharashtra her tempes are found in Bhandara and Akola. There is also a famous temple in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
Her temples are also found in Gujarat. In Unjha, Gujarat, she is worshipped in as Umiya Mata. Some people in Gujarat and Rajasthan also consider Ashapura Mata as an incarnation of Annapoorna Mata.
In Rajasthan, her temples are found in Mishroli village in Jhalawar district, Kagdara village in Pali district, There is one temple of Annapoorna Mata in Chittorgarh Fort. It was built by Maharana Hamir Singh. There are other temples in the fort near the Annapoorna Mata temple which are dedicated to Baan Mata, Charbhuja and Lakshmi-Narayan.
On the top of the Ramgarh hill, Rajasthan, Kisnai and Annapurna Devi temples are situated in the natural cave. About 750 stairs were constructed by Jhala Jalim Singh for reaching the temple on the hill top. The main speciality of this temple is that one Devi is worshiped with Meva and another is with Mas- Madira. At the time of Parshad, curtain is raised between the two Devis. Fair is also organised during Kartik Purnima.