April 22, 2017: Varoodhini Ekadasi
April 24, 2017: Varaha Jayanathi, Somashroda Vratam
April 25, 2017: Maasa Sivarati, Sivasannidhi Snanam
The very name 'Annapoorna' means one who provides us with plentiful of food. Goddess Annapoorna is looked upon as the provider of food and the sustainer of prosperity. 'Anna' means food and ' Poorna' means full, complete and perfect. Goddess Annapoorna is the respected Supreme Goddess who is full, complete and perfect in respect of food and grains. She is the symbol of One who grants nourishment on every level and She is called Supreme Goddess of the city of Kasi.
The temple of Goddess Annapoorna Devi is located near Kasi Viswanath temple, this sanctuary of godless Annapoorna was built by Martha Chieftain Peshwa Baji Rao in 1729 according to available texts. The idol of Annapoorna Bhavani, a benevolent for of Shakti is made in solid gold and carries a cooking pot. The Goddess is believed to be the mother of all the three worlds, heaven, earth and hell and is said that her devotees never suffer from starvation. The temple complex has a small sanctum that enshrines the idol of Goddess Annapoorna. It was inaugurated in January 1977 and the famous Shankacharya of Shringeri conserated the idol. There is also a striking silver faced image of Shani within the temple. Shani is feared for his destructive powers and is propitiated to prevent any ill befalling the devout. There are two idols of the deity in the temple. The idol made of Gold is used for worship on very ceremonial occasions once in a year, while the other idol made of Brass is used for daily worship. A highlight of the temple is that every year, the day before, Diwali, the golden idol of Annapoorna is opened for darshan. This idol can be seen only on that day and it is indeed a great sight. Goddess Annapoorna sits in the middle with her trademark bowl and ladle. On her left is Goddess Lakshmi and on Her right is Bhudevi. All these idols are pure gold and are beautiful looking at. In front of them stands Shiva, made of silver asks for alms.
During the Autumn Navaratri, food is distributed on a larger scale. During the annual Annakuta festival, just after Diwali, mountains of fruits, sweets and cereals are laid out before the Goddess and then distributed to the poor. Sri Annapoorna Ashtakam composed by Sri Shankacharya is chanted by several devout Hindu around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, devotees chant the prayers. The Annapoorna Vrat Katha containing stories of her devotees are also often recited by her devotees. Free coupons are available at the temple office and the food is served in a hall behind the temple. Try to partake of this Prasad at least once during the stay in Kasi. It is also a tradition to perform some service before taking food here. So, many devotees take their turn in serving a few devotees, before stating to eat. This was a wonderful experience in itself and a practice that must be encouraged.