Ayudha Puje (Kannada: ಆಯುಧ ಪೂಜೆ) is an integral part of the Navratri festival (festival of triumph), a Hindu festival which is traditionally celebrated in India. It is also called “Astra Puja”, the synonym for Ayudha Puja. In simple terms, it means “Worship of Implements”. It is celebrated in Karnataka (in erstwhile Mysore State) as “Ayudha Puje” (Kannada: ಆಯುಧ ಪೂಜೆ),in Andhra Pradeshas Aayudha Pooja (Telugu: ఆయుధ పూజ), in Kerala as Ayudha Puja (Malayalam: ആയുധ പൂജ), “Astra Puja” or “Ayudha Puja” inOrissa, and in Tamil Nadu as Ayudha Pujai (Tamil: ஆயுத பூஜை). The festival falls on the ninth day or Navami of the bright half of Moon’s cycle of 15 days (as per Almanac) in the month of September/October, and is popularly a part of the Dasara or Navaratri orDurga Puja or Golu festival. On the ninth day of the Dasara festival, weapons and tools are worshipped. In Karnataka, the celebration is for killing of the demon king Mahishasura by goddess Chamundeshwari. After slaying of the demon king, the weapons were kept out for worship. While Navaratri festival is observed all over the country but in South Indian states, where it is widely celebrated as Ayudha Puja, there are slight variations of worship procedure.
The principal Shakti goddesses worshiped during the Ayudha puja are Saraswati (the Goddess of wisdom, arts and literature),Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) and Parvati (the divine mother), apart from various types of equipment; it is on this occasion when weapons are worshipped by soldiers and tools are revered by artisans. The Puja is considered a meaningful custom, which focuses specific attention to one’s profession and its related tools and connotes that a divine force is working behind it to perform well and for getting the proper reward.
In the cross cultural development that has revolutionized the society, with modern science making a lasting impact on the scientific knowledge and industrial base in India, the ethos of the old religious order is retained by worship of computers and typewriters also during the Ayudha Puja, in the same manner as practiced in the past for weapons of warfare. In Orissa, tools traditionally used for cultivation like plough, war like sword and dagger, and inscription writing like “karani” or “lekhani” (metal stylus) are worshiped.