About The Deity
The Deity, according to the legend ‘Chowdesvari Mahatmayamu’, believed to have come down Benaras to enforce the grant of the Nandavara Agraharam to the Brahmins by ‘Nandana Chakravarthi’ in accordance with the promise held out to them in Her presence for retrieving him from an awkward situation he confronted at Benaras, by their yogic prowess. After Her mission, She is believed to have vanished only to remain at Nandavaram invisible to the physical eye as the ‘Guardian Angel’ of the group of Brahmins, thence forth known as ‘Nandavariks’.
The annual festival at the time of ‘Ugadi’ is celebrated with all pomp and peasantry and is attended by about 10 to 12 thousand devotees. The usual fanfare of temporary shops, illuminations, wheels of merry-go, round, ‘Anna Satrams’ for the devotees and the various ‘Sevas’ performed for the Deity can be witnessed on the occasion in all its splendors.
The presiding Deity now worshipped at Nandavaram is made up of ‘Bachina’-light wood of ‘ATTI’ (fig of Angoor) and pasted over with a well-ground compound consisting of tamarind seed flour, chunam and saw-dust to shape out the features the stripped with cloth, coloured and re-coloured, bedecked, installed and consecrated. It is believed that the Deity from Benaras in golden splendor is in the sub-terrain of the ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’ of the temple. The devotees, on the disappearance of the Deity with the original golden splendor after Her arrival from Benaras, were perhaps confounded and could not bear Her disappearance. They had to make quickly an idol of Hers for worship. There was perhaps no sculptor then readily available, who could have seen the form of the Deity, to make one for them in stone. They must have therefore made one of wood, installed it, and consecrated and worshipped it till a new one was made and installed by the Dharani Family, as seen from the stone inscription in the temple put up in Sake 1707 – VISVASASU SRAVANA SUDDHA DASAMI, corresponding to 1785 A.D. August 15th. There are not many idols of presiding Deities made of wood is that of the famous ‘Sri Jagannatha’ at Poori. We find a number of Deities made of wood as ‘Utsava’ idols at several places. ‘Sri Chowdeshwari’ temples located in the streets also named after the Deity, in Bangalore, Mysore and several other places elsewhere are known to contain idols of stone as Presiding Deity and appear therefore to be of later origin. The ‘Utsava’ idol of metal (Pancha Loha) of Sri Chowdeshwari at Nandavaram is known to be kept aside in the ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’ in a sealed iron-box and is only taken out for procession on festive occasions. It is common occurrence these days that metal idols are stolen and smuggled out of the country as they are in great demand in foreign countries where they are used for decorating their museums as antiques. The icons are out culture heritage and their smuggling is sought to be banned by legislation by the Government. They have to be guar ended and preserved for posterity at any cost.
The main iconographical features of the Deity in HER sitting posture is Her having four hands. The two hands on the right hold a sword and a ‘Trisulam’ The left hands have a ‘DAMARAKAM’ and a ‘PANA PATRA’. The hands hold aloft the symbols of Shakti. ‘Sri Chowdeswari’ is said to be ‘OMHARA SHAKTHI’. As stated earlier. In some places, however, like Kalluru, lggaluru and others SHE is depicted in standing posture. Whatever be the posture and from SHE is held in great veneration every where.
She is believed to have imbibed all the know and unknown forms of ‘SHAKTHI’ namely ‘AADI SHAKTHI’ ‘SIVA SHAKTHI’, VAISHNAVA SHAKTHI’ ‘KANATHI SAKHTHI’, PARA SHAKTHI’ and so on and is considered in short as the Orin and embodiment of all ‘SHAKTHIS’. Some devotees in their worship hail HER as the Conson of SHIVA. The ardent devotee, Sri Avodotha Anandananda Swamy, however, does not favour this hailing for he does not consider HER as one having a spouse or as a ‘Sabharthruka’ but as ONE mightier than all. Whatever it may be, SHE is considered by all as the ‘MOTHER SUPREME’ and worshipped as such by her devotees. SHE is eulogized as ‘OMKARA JANANI’, OMKARA ROOPINI’, ‘PARABRAHMA SWAROOPINI’, SHIVA TATWA BHIMAA’, ‘SADA JYOTHI BHIMA’, ‘SUDHA GNANA BHIMBHA’, ‘VEDA BHIMBHA, ‘PRANAVA BIMBHA’, VISWA BHIMBHA’, POORNA BHIMBHA’, and so on. There are Compilations of propitiatory Verses and Salutations namely ‘Sri Chowdeshwari Ashtothram, Sri Chowdamamba Sahasranamam’ Sri Chowdeshwari Nakshatramala’, ‘Sri Chowdeshwari Name Sankirhthanam’. Sri Chowdeshwari Geeta Malika (Sathakam). Sri Chowdeshwari Artha Thranana Stotram’, Sri Chowdeshwari Sthothra Panchakam’, Sri Chowdeshwari Suprabhatham (not printed) and others for HER worship. GLORY to ‘Sri Choweshwai Devi, the Supreme Mother Divine.
Source: A Treatise on Nandavariks by Rayasam Viswanatha Rao