Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari History:
South India is the land of many temples with great history. Among them, Sri Kanyaka Parameswari temple located in Penugonda town, on the banks of river Godhavari, in the State of Andhra Pradesh is considered as the “Kasi of Vysyas”. During the middle of the tenth century, the two tall temple gopurams of Sri Nagareswara and Sri Janardhana exhibited the amenity and tolerance 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 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 “Virupaksha” and the girl as “Vasavamba”.
During childhood itself, the great leadership qualities and powerful features of a king were clearly visible in Virupaksha , whereas Vasavi showed her inclination towards art & architecture, music and great devotion to God. As she grew, her parents noted her unattached views on the material world and thirst for divine knowledge. Sri Baskaracharya was the teacher and guiding star of the community. Vysya’s took his advice on religious, cultural and social matters. Under his guidance, Vasavi learned all the fine arts and got mastery over philosophical subjects and Virupaksha learned Vedas, fencing, horse riding, martial arts and other qualities to rule the country. Once, Vishnu Vardhan went on an expedition to extend his empire. On the way, he visited the 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. The desire of Vishnu vardhana was like a death blow 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 the Vysya community has certain norms to follow regarding the marriage of its daughter. In response, the ministers told him 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 eternal 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, Bheda and Dhanda.
At this stage, Vasavi decided to enter the Homa Gundam to stop the bloodshed. She indicated she will be the first one to enter the homa Gundam and others may follow her, such a noble act will glorify the peace loving Arya Vysysa sect of generation. Her voice was calm and clear, firm and resolute. She was a picture of boldness. On the banks of Godavari, 103 Agnikundas (fir pits) were constructed and then filled it with sandalwood, herbs and ghee was sprinkled. 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 embodiment of Ahimsa ans Dharmaraksha. Vasavi was looking like a Goddess of peace and benevolence. She said her brother Virupaksha’s administration and justice will be written in letters of gold and will be known as the golden era of Vysyas. 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. The love sick king Vishnuvardhana spent many sleepless nights and went to Penugonda, on his way, he got the news about Vasavi, he understood he was the cause for bringing in sorrow to hundreds of families in his rule. His mind was agitated. He saw his end was nearing.
The land of Vysyas with its capital Penugonda, known as garden of peace plunged in sorrow. The wailing of the relatives rent the air; the younger generation losing their parents was thrown into an uncontrollable grief. It was poojya Baskaracharys’s affectionate words that made them to realize that their parents who had lived in properity and plenty died for the principle they cherished. Those elders will be remembered as long as Sun and Moon existed. 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 Kanyaka Parameswari. The first temple for Vasavi was built in Penugonda