Ayudha puja is the part of the 10 day Hindu festival Dasara or Vijay Dashmi, celebrated in the country during the Aashwij month of the Hindu calendar year.
The ritual is performed on the 10th day of the festival series. The tools and weapons are worshipped to commemorate their use in the battlefields and respective workshops.
The significance of the festival dates back in times when, Goddess Durga fought a battle for 9 days and defeated the demon named Mahishasura on the 10th day with various weapons. Hence, the victory was celebrated by worshipping the goddess and the weapons used during the battle.
Today, the ritual is performed giving special emphasis to the tools and equipment related to one’s profession and personal use.
The equipment worshipped are, machines, vehicles, stationaries, digital items, musical instruments and farm equipment. These are cleaned and decorated with flowers and are applied with turmeric, sandalwood paste and vermilion.
The ritual is completed by breaking an ash gourd on the ground and the tools are left undisturbed for a day to worship.
The ritual is known by different names in different parts of the country. In Karnataka it is known as Ayudha Puje, In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala as Ayudha puja, in Tamil Nadu as Ayudha Pujai , Shastra Puja in Odisha and Khande Navami in Maharashtra.
The festival is celebrated with immense joy and devotion throughout the country with different rituals and customs for 9 night (Navaratri), each day dedicated to specific avatar of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, in significance to worship the deities of power, wealth and knowledge, followed by worshipping the instruments which help in acquiring the same on the 10th day of Vijaya Dashmi (victorious 10th day).