Ayudha Pooja is a part of Hindu celebrations which is celebrated during Navratri festival. The reference of this puja is found in the Mahabharat epic also.
Ayudh Pooja means “Worship of Instruments” and falls on the 10th day of the bright half of lunar cycle of 15 days. It may fall on September or October depending upon the Hindu calendar. Ayudh puja is famous with different names in different parts of India as follows:
Telanga and Andhra Pradesh: Aayudha Pooja
Kerala: Ayudha Puja
Tamil Nadu: Ayudha Pujai
Mahrasthra: Khande Navami
Karnataka: Ayudha Puje
Though it is named different in different parts but the celebrations are more or less similar in different parts. It is celebrated on the tenth day for the killing of the Mahishasura by the goddess Durga.
Legends associated with Ayudha Pooja
There are basically two legends associated with the celebration of Ayudha Puja as below:
Legend 1: One legend associated with Ayudh is that on Vijayadashmi day third Pandava Arjun retrieved his weapons of war from the hold ein the Shami tree. It is said that he had hidden his weapons in that hold before going on the forced exile. After winning Kurukshetra war, Pandavas returned on Vijayadashmi day. Due to this reason also Vijayadashmi is considered very auspicious to begin a new venture.
Legend 2: One more legend associated with Ayudh Pooja is offering human sacrifice as a part of this celebrations. This practice of human sacrifice is no longer prevalent now. And if needed sacrifice of sheep or buffalo is done.It is mentioned in the Tamil version of Mahabharata epic that Duryodhana was advised by Sahadeva who was an astrologer that human sacrifice has to be performed before and after the battles for the desired results, and best time for performing this human sacrifice, better known as “Kalapalli” is amavasya day. For this, they persuaded “Irana or Aravan” the son of Arjuna for the sacrifice. Knowing this Krishan persuaded Irana to be the representative of both Pandavas and Kauravas. Krishana also advised Yudhistara who was the eldest of Pandavas to offer Aravan to the goddess Kali as a part of Ayudh Puja. To this, Aravan was sacrificed and offered to goddess Kali. After the sacrifice, Kali blessed the Pandavas to get victory in the Mahabharata war.
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