Ayudha Puja or Astra Pooja is one of the main rituals observed during Durga Navratri. Ayudha Pooja is celebrated with utmost dedication in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
In Kerala Ayudha Puja is performed on Mahanavami day whereas in other states Ayudha pooja is one of the main events on Vijaya Dashami day.
Ayudha Puja means the worship of weapons. After demolishing the demon Mahishasura, Mahishasura Mardhini Durgas weapons were of no use. The weapons were kept aside and worshipped on Vijaya Dashami. Astra is the synonym for Ayudha, hence the puja is also called as Astra Pooja.
In ancient times, Kings and soldiers used to perform Ayudha Puja for their weapons. They considered their weapons as their protectors and as Gods. Nowadays, people related to mechanical and electrical work, keep their operators and instruments in their puja room and worship them with utmost devotion.
On Dasara day, Vahana Puja is also performed in some places. The similar puja is performed on Vishwakarma Puja or Biswakarma Pooja which is performed on Kanya Sankraman day.