Revered by the Arya Vysya community, as their ‘Ilavelpu’, the Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Temple near Kurupam Market, Visakhapatnam, is more than a century old. This temple is particularly favoured by the business community in the north coastal districts. Sri Kanyaka Parameswari is the august incarnation of the Universal Mother Parvathi. She was born as Vasaviamba to Kusum Sresthi and Kusumaba in Penugonda by divine intervention, during the Chola Emperor Vishnu Vardharna’s rule.
She grew into a young girl of matchless beauty and chose the path of devotion and spiritualism. During a visit to Penugonda, mesmerised by the chaste girl’s mellifluous voice as she sang bhajans, Vishnu Vardhana, the Chola Emperor, blinded by lust, sought Vasaviamba’s hand in marriage. The devout Vasavimamba chose not to surrender to the Emperor’s demands, preferring to make a supreme sacrifice to save her chastity, honour and purity by jumping into a fire pit along with 102 families of the community.
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To mark this ultimate sacrifice to preserve the honour of the community, a temple was constructed in Penugonda. Since then the temple has become a rallying point for the community, with many experiencing miracles as well. It is believed that those who pray to her will be blessed with wealth surpassing Kubera.
Devotees believe that she will guide them in all their spiritual and materialistic endeavours as well as guide them to their favoured final destination ‘Kaila’. Devotees celebrate both her birthday and the day of her supreme sacrifice reverentially. Festivals like Vinayaka Navarathri, Dasara Navarathri, Shivarathri, Sravana Sukravara pujas, and Margasira Thursday pujas attract thousands of devotees. Nagareswara Swamy and Janardhana Swamy Kalyana festivities are celebrated annually with great devotion. The temple has an open-air function hall, with very nominal charges. Annually, around 5 lakh devotees visit the Kanyaka Parameswari Temple in Visakhapatnam.
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