Penugonda is the birth place of Goddess Sri Vasavi Kannika Parameshwari .Sri Vasavi Kannika Parameshwari Temple is situated in Penugonda ,a town in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.This Penugonda Kshetram is considered as the "Kasi of Vysyas" and is a holy place for vysyas.
The story is associated with Vysyas Kingdom of Penugonda dating back to 10th century AD. This temple is known as Kasi of Vysyas. This is the holy place for Vysyas as this is the birth place of Goddess Vasavi Maata. This is one of the temples with wonderful architecture. The temple has vast Garbha gruha with tall Raja Gopura and adorned walls penned by beautiful sculptures. The images of Goddess Kanyaka Parameswari with Her parents standing in the fire are must see attractions in the temple. There are other shrines; Lord Nageshwara Swamy, Goddess Kanyaka Parameswari, Goddess Mahishasuramardhini, Lord Vinayaka and Navagrahas. There is Astalakshmi Temple beside Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari Temple.
Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari Temple Penugonda
Kusuma Sresti was ruling the kingdom of Penugonda. His wife was Kususmamba. Penugonda was the part of Vengidesa ruled by Chalukya King, Vishnu Vardhana. The couple spent their married life happily for many years but they didn’t have children. They approached their Kula Guru Bhakaracharya. He advised them to perform Puthrakameshtiyaga. During an auspicious time couple started the yaga. Gods where impressed and sent prasadam by God Agni. They had prasadam with utter devotion. After some days Kusumamba gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl on 10th of Vaishakha month. They named the boy as Virupaksha and the girl as Vasavamba. Under the guidance of Bhaskaracharya Virupaksha learnt horse riding, martial arts, Vedas and other qualities required to rule the country. Vasavamba studied fine arts and mastered philosophical subjects. Once King Vishnu Vardhana went Penugonda to extend his empire. He saw beautiful Vasavamba and made his mind to marry her. He sent his ministers to talk to Kusuma Sresti regarding the marriage.
Kusuma Sresti was in a dilemma as Vishnu Vardhana is already married to Rathnavathi. Kusuma Sresti consulted Vysya elders to discuss this situation. They suggested Kusuma Sresti leave the decision to Vasavamba. She expressed her feelings to be a virgin throughout her life and intended to meditate upon endless problems. The same was informed to King Vishnu Vardhana by Kusuma Sresti. Vishnu Vardhana rose into anger and he sent his army to attack Penugonda and to get Vasavi. Vishnu Vardhana’s army defeated brave Vysyas. At this stage, Vasavamba decided to enter Homagundam to stop the inhumanities. She indicated she will be the first one to enter Homagundam and other Vysyas may follow her. Such a noble act will glorify the peace loving Arya Vysya sector of generation. The couple of 102 Gothras joined Vasavi to enter 103 Homagundas which were constructed.
They filled these Homagundas with sandalwood, ghee and herbs. All the people realised that Vasavi is the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi. Vasavi smiled and revealed Her true self as Viswaroopadarshan of Goddess Kanyaka Parameswari. Vasavi entered ragging fire to reach Kailsam and others followed Her. Vishnu Vardhana reached the main entrance of Penugonda. Then his detectives reported all that had happened in the city. He could not bear the great shock and fell down vomiting blood and died. To memorialise the pilgrimage Virupaksha installed 101 Lingas for each Gothra in Penugonda. The King Narendra, son of Vishnu Vardhana installed a statue of Vasavi as a token of respect. From that day onwards all Vysyas began performing poojas to Her and She is considered as Vysyakula Devatha-Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari.