Penugonda (Vasavi's BirthPlace)

As per Lord Shiva's wish Brahma took his lineage from Brighu vamsa as Baskaracharya and reached the shores of River Godhavari and ordered the divine architect Viswakarma to establish a city. Brahma was ordained to be the preceptor of Vysyas and was known as Sri Baskaracharya. He was the teacher and guiding star of the community. Vysyas look his advice on religion, cultural and social matters. Viswakarma built the city of Penugonda on the banks of Godhavari with assistance from Kuber. The land (country) was divided into Ashtadasa mandala (18 units) for the purpose of administration. The units were called Dharma, Dhanatha, Panchala, Nirvathya, Jagannadha, Ksheera, Kasara, Yala, Gantasala, Thriguna, Ganna, Bhima, Vishala, Kalinga, Narasinga, Veeranarayanna, Achanda & Thandlur. It was their firm belief that these eighteen divisions prospered under the eighteen hands of Adhisakthi Parvathi.

The city of Penugonda had I2 pradhana marga and 16 upamarga. They were straight like Suns rays. The southern side of the state was bounded by sea with a natural harbour. The Vysya community consisting of 714 gothras lived and prospered in the region, blessed with kubhera kataksham, arable lands and cattle wealth. (Dhanam, Dhanyam and Coh-sampath) A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess was situated in the centre of the city. The presiding deities were worshipped as sri Nagareswara andSri Vindhyavasini. Another temple for Sri Janardhana and his consort Sri Konakamala Devi was established nearby.

The city had a number of buildings; main entrance had huge Carved out of wooden doors and a threshold. The Figure Gajalakshmi beautifully carved out of mahaghani wood adorned the cornice.Single Door with Decorations to match the threshold and side panels was moving on hinges.Two small triangle shaped dug outs on either side of the door way on the walls were provided for two oil lamps to be lit in the evenings.Sitouts (thinnai) were provided on the either side of the enterance for the people to sit and chat. Some of the houses were tiled and some had one storey or two. A kind of architectural system known as Vastu sastra was religiously followed in constructing a house. The main door had an opposite door provided leading to the backyard and served as crossventilation. The kitchen was provided inAgni moola i.e., onSouth West corner.

The house was divided carefully into one, two or three (quadrangles) square portions with an opening in the centre allowing plenty of sun, lightand air- Living rooms were constructed on either side of the central opening. A special varanda(servicepath) led to the second and third portions known as koodam in Tamil and kottam in Telugu. Deities or pictures of Gods and Goddess were placed facing East in a secluded area and worshipped. A small octagonal structure beautifully got up called 'Thulasi kota' or 'Thulasi Brivandan' which means the abode for the Thulasi plant was erected on the eastern side of the house or in the backyard. A cow shed with milch cows and calves was a must during the hey days of Penugonda. The cow was worshipped as Kamadhenu and Lakshmi. The chief lady of the house used to adorn the cow with turmeric paste and vermilion on its face, hump, tail and on four legs. The lady used to offer fruits like banana, wet raw rice and jaggery in a fray to the cow and offer pooja. The cows were individually christened as Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Parvathi, Ganga, Yamuna and the like. They were accustomed to come before the lady of the house to receive a fruit or Agathi keerai when called individually.

The life of Vysyaa in Penugonda commenced when they were delivered by the sacred cow, kamadhenu on the banks of Pulasyatheertham, on the Predetermined day. kamadhenu was an universe by herself and afforded all comforts to the community who came out of Mount Kailash.

After the arrival of vysyas under the leadership of Samadhimuni at Penugonda Sri Baskara Charyulu blessed them as husband and wife according to their (poorvajanma) previous birth.The clan spread far and wide into eighteen mandalas.

Vudhvaha was the first administrator of the city state of Penugonda, created by divine architect Viswakarma with liberal help from Kubher.

The city of Penugonda with paved streets and well managed water system depicted the economic prosperity of the land. The two tall temple gopurams of Sri Nagareswara and Sri Janardhana exhibited the amity and tolerance between the two great religions Saivism and Vaishnavism. The sculptures and the style of construction were oriental and according to the agamasastra and Hindu way of cultural life.

The port on the south of the state presented a wonderful sight, having a number of vessels of different dimensions and various patterns.moored side by side. The flags fluttering on them represented their countries origin. The whole country was endowed with agriculture, horticulture and cattle wealth. The farm products and milk products were plenty and the country was Sowing with milk and honey. Rathnapuri and Vishala were the centres of commercial importance. They had many merchants who were dealing in spices of exportable quality, (even Gods liked them) precious and semi-precious gems of alluring nature. High rise buildings of the rich and the famous were the land marks of the town.

The chieftain Kusumasreshti was the devotee of Sri Nagareswara and Sri Vindhyavasini. Kusumarya was 16th in the line of succession to Samadhimuni; His rule was considered as a golden era. He was well supported by his council of ministers. Kusumagupta's ships sailed the southern seas. He was married to Kausambi and lived happily. They were childless. Their preceptor Baskaracharya advised them to perform a putrakameshti yagam. The yagna was performed for seven days.

Kusumarya was the central figure of the epic Vasavi Charithra, who was born and reborn to fulfil the curse. The boon he had was to be father of Ahimsa Jothi vasavi, the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi .

On the seventh day of yagna. Goddess Sarvani appeared, presented a kalpaga twin fruit to Kosumarya and disappeared. On the advice of preceptor Baskaracharya he gave the twin fruit of love and affection to his wife Kausambi. She consumed the fruit with all reverence. The loving care of the husband and the effect of the divine fruit made Kausambi a mother of twins - a boy and a girl. The year was Nala and the month was visaka and the day was Suddha Dhasami. On Friday and under the natal star punarvasu IVth pada the twins were Born. As the Vysya custom would have it the naming ceremony (Namakarnam) was performed on he 11th day. Kusumarya offered the brahmin Pandits and the poor food, clothing and gold coins behoving his status. Akashvani, the divine voice christened the boy as Virupaksha and the baby girl as Vasavi. The children grew up under parental care.

Virupaksha was initiated to Gayathri japa by Sri baskaracharya at the age of eleven. He had his guru kula vasam (schooling) under the guidance of the preceptor. Virupaksha was taught dharmasastra, political science and martial arts like sword fighting and horse riding.