Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameshwari temple is located in Penugonda,West Godavari District.Penugonda is a Birth Place of Goddess Sri Vasavi Kanyaka arameswari Devi. This Temple is considered as the “Kasi of Vysyas” and is a holy place for vysyas.The Birth Place of Vasavi Matha. The holy Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari temple which finds mention in various ancient religious texts. Penugonda is 35km from Tadepalligudem, 15km from Tanuku, 15km from Palakollu, 50km from Rajahmundry.
Inside the Temple you can also find other three shrines of Sri Nageswara Swami, Mother Kanyaka Parameswari and Goddess Mahishasuramardini.The temple is one of the marvels built in those times with tall gopuras, spacious courtyard, vast garbha griha, the grand mukhamandapas, the sturdy prakaras and the gracious idols of the Gods adorning the walls of temples. The temple was built in strict accordance with Vasthu sasthra.It faces east and a tall tower surmounting over the broad mahadwara beckons the visitors with its beautiful sculptural pieces adoring it from top to bottom and on all four sides too.In the second Prakara.there are many mandapams installed with adorable deities,like Vinayaka,Bali,Navagrahas,besides the exquisitely made colorful statues of Mother Kanyakaparameswari standing in fire –pit with parents by her side. As you enter, you are into the first prakara that has a vast courtyard with several buildings- Office room, choultry and quarters for the staff.
The garbha griha of Nageswaraswamy is quote spacious,and its spick and span together with the elevated vedth for the lingam in the center is masterly planned and tastefully executed.The imposing ling installed on a broad,high pedestial adorned with colorful garlands and the triple lines studded with diamonds is so captivating that the devotees raise their hands in veneration the moment it gleams into their sight.And feel transported to Kailas for a while.Its size and sheen are its plus points.The other two garbha grihas frankling this housing Mahishasuramardhini and Vasavambha are grand,and the icons beautified with dazzling jewels and colorful outfit mesmerizes the adorers.A single darsan leaves unforgettable impression on the minds of the devotees and beckons repeated visits on and on.
As Goddess Vasavi from Vysyas cast front the temple place Vysyas inaugurated Honarable Sri. Potti Sriramulu statue, who has done hunger strike for the Andhara Pradesh state. We can find Astalaxmi temple beside Vasavi temple. Vysyas are running Arya Vysya Samasam near the temple for Vysyas who visits this place and travels from long distances.
The land of Vysyas with its capital Penugonda, known as garden of peace plunged in sorrowDuring the middle of tenth century, the two tall temple gopurams of Sri Nagareswara and Sri Janardhana exhibited the tolerance and amnity between the two great religions Saivism and Vaishnavism. It was during this time; Kusuma Sresti was ruling the city of Penugonda. His rule was considered as a golden era. His wife was Kusumamba, they were an ideal couple and great devotees of Sri Nagareswara. Penugonda was a part of Vengidesha, which was ruled by Challukya King, Vishnu Vardhana.
They had spent many happy years of their married life, but had a worry because they didn't had any children. They performed putrakameshti yagam and were blessed by Goddess Sarvani with twins, a boy and a girl. Twins were born in the month of vaisaka at twilight during coincidences of Uttara and Kanya nakshatra. They named the boy as "Virupaksha" and the girl as "Vasavamba". Sri Baskaracharya was the teacher and guiding star of the community. Vysyas took his advice on religion, cultural and social matters. Under his guidance, Vasavi learnt all the fine arts and got mastery over philosophical subjects and Virupaksha learnt horse riding,martial arts,Vedas,fencing and other qualities to rule the country.
Once, Vishnu vardhana went trip to extend his empire. On the way, he visited city of Penugonda and was welcomed by King Kusuma Sresti. The people looked at him with awe and reverence. Among the crowd, Vishnu Vardhana spotted Vasavi who was glittering with her beauty after when Manmatha (god of love) threw his sweet arrows on him, which influenced him a lot. His hawkish eyes again and again sought for the enchanting figure of Vasavi. He made up his mind to marry her and sent his ministers to talk to Kusuma Sresti..
Kusuma Sresti was neither in a position to accept nor to deny. He could not show any anger or disturbed mind and told the ministers that Vysya community has certain norms to follow regarding the marriage of its daughter. The minister’s response is that the king wanted to marry Vasavi and that should take place. He consulted with the Vysya elders to discuss the situation. They all decided to give most importance to the views of Vasavi. She expressed her feelings to be a virgin throughout her life and intended to meditate upon endless problems.
The King Vishnu Vardhana rose into anger when heard the denial of Kusuma Sresti to give his daughter. As a result, he sent his big army to attack Penugonda and to get Vasavi. There was a big fight and the brave Vysyas defeated Vishnuvardhana's army by using the techniques of Sama, Dhana, Veda and Dhanda. At this stage, Vasavi decided to enter the Homagundam to stop the atrocities. She indicated she will be the first one to enter the homogundam and others may follow her, such a noble act will glorify the peace loving Arya Vysysa sect of generation.
On the banks of Godavari, 103 Agnigundas were constructed and then filled it with sandalwood, ghee and herbs was spread in to that. Everyone decided to act in accordance with Vasavi. The couples of 102 Gothras were joining Vasavi to plunge into the holy fire.All the people realized that Vasavi was the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi. Vasavoi smiled and revealed her true self the Vishwa roopa dharsan of Kanyaka Parameswari, the incarnation of Dharmaraksha and Ahimsa.
When Vasavi entered the homagundam of raging fire, suddenly the fire became a cool breeze and Agni Deva came out with folded hands and said that he could not bear Vasavi who was hotter than him. Vasavi told Agni Deva that she do not want to perform Agni pariksha, she would grow cooler to him and he can transport her and others to Kailash through her transplanatory prowess. She performed Agni Pravesam to reach kailash and others followed her.
After the sudden demise of Vishnuvardhana, his son Prince Rajaraja Narendra visited the land of Penugonda with a retinue of peace loving citizens. Vasavi was worshipped as Kanyakaparameswari. The first temple for Vasavi was built in Penugonda.