Arrival of Vishnuvardhan

The City with its huge ramparts, placid lakes ,well laid gardens, of beautiful , colourful and sweet smelling flowers presented a paradise on earth. The bowers on the banks of the perennial river Godhavari were places struck with Cupids arrows frequented with young lovers. Cultural festivals like Madana poornima were performed during (springtime) vasantha ruthu. The environment was lush green and no trees were unnecessarily cut to make a living place. The forests were dense and forest products like firewood, herbs and honey were collected. Huge peepul trees provided shade for the travellers, resting place for animals and nesting place for birds.Under these huge trees, Naga devathas (serpent Gods) were installed usually according to Vedic rights- Neem Tees were also planted beside the peepul trees and marriages were performed to them as if they were humans. Such was the early religion which considered the trees as sacred. No sacred tree can be cut or its barks sheared.The neem tree (margosa) provided healthy air- Its resin and oil were natural disinfectants. It was a custom to hang a bunch of neem leaves on the doorsteps, cautioning that a child in their house was afflicted with small pox.The jammy tree is considered as sacred to the Vysya community. Only after performing pooja to the jammy tree the procession of the deity commences, which is known as parveta.

In any country peace cannot prevail for all time to come. The peace was disturbed by the arrival of the great Challukya King Vishnuvardhan. It was not his intention to do so, but destiny guided him. He was a great King and overlord of Penugonda. History says that Kings however powerful they are, cannot take it for granted that all is well in the far distant corners of their Kingdom. The King has to visit his domain with an army to strengthen his authority.

During such times the King will be offered plenty of gold ornaments and rare things like ivory and sandalwood carvings, king Vishnuvardhan appointed his heir apparent Narendra to take charge of his state during his absence at Rajamahendravaram. The King going round his country with an able army is called Vijaya yatra.Vishruvardhan according to his schedule went far south and established his rights by getting his sanmanam.

There was no resistance to his authority and gifts galore were being carried back to his capital- Vishnuvardhan was returning triumphantly to Rajamahendravaram. On his way he reached the outskirts of Penugonda. The beautiful gardens, the lovely trees providing shade and cover to his tired army, cool waters of Godhavari and the salubrious climate goaded him to pitch his camp there. From his tent he saw the huge ramparts of Penugonda and the gates manned by a small pack of well trained scouts and no militia. He was able to judge the prosperity of the land and the peace prevailing there. Since he was regularly getting his dues, he never thought of establishing another contact.

Meanwhile when Kusumareshti came to know the arrival of King Vishnuvardhan through his net work of informants, he hurried to greet the king with his retinue of servants officials, food and fruits, spices and water. After exchanging salutations and adhithi sathkara he invited the King to visit the Shrine of Lord Nagareswara and accept a banquet in honour of his visit. As an ardent follower of Lord Shiva, he readily accepted to have the darshan of the presiding deity of the city and the hospitality of the Trading Vysya community. The city was decorated with flags and festoons. Fully grown plantain trees with bunches of unripe fruits were tied to pillars and tender coconuts in bunches were hung along with lender white coconut leaves cut in flower patterns.The King entered the city escorted by Vysya nobles and retinue of servants to the accompaniment of Nadhaswara music. The people looked at him with awe and reverence

His broad shoulders were bedecked with royal insignia of challukyas shining yellow with pearl strings flowing. His head gear of gold and silk embedded with precious stones of bright colours stone in the bright sun of the morning. He was walking like a bull elephant. His hawkish eyes and big moustache instilled fear unto the onlookers. The royal lion of a man prayed before the lord Almighty with devotion to the admiration of all thepeople. He was overwhelmed by his Satvaguna (pious nature) in the temple. The royal procession went through the main roads of Penugonda.Beautiful Vysya women clad in colourful silks, of gold and Zari sporting their finest jewellery were standing near the threshold partly hiding behind the doors to see him.

Vasavi sitting in her apartment was playing on her manikya veena. The enchanting music poured forth through the portals of the palace and caught the King's attention. Vishnuvardhan was not only a war lord, but a lover of music, particularly of Veena. He enquired as to who was playing on the veena. The people around avoided for a while.but had to tell him that the music and the voice was of Vasavi, the Princess of Penugonda. He was a great warrior king, who fought pitched battles. His love for music and dance was well known. His strength lay in his administration and his weakness was women.When he came to know that such enthralling music came from a Princess, his thoughts ran helter-skelter and paid little interest in the people around him.He remained calm with great difficulty.

Vinayagar Decoration