Gnana Saraswati Temple is a temple of Devi Saraswati located on the banks of Godavari river at Basar in Telangana. It is among the two important temples of Devi Saraswati, the other being in Kashmir.
Devi Saraswati is the embodiment of gyan and the Shakti of brahma – and is the central deity for pursuing learning, music and wisdom. Usually depicted in white seated on a swan and adorning a veena, at Basar, the devi is bedecked in turmeric which is believed to enhance a person’s knowledge and wisdom. Next to Devi Saraswati is the idol of Devi Laxmi – a rarity as the two are never seen together. Inside the sanctorum of temples to its east, lies the shrine dedicated to Devi Kali.
It is said that Rishi Vyasa, along with his son and disciples, left on a pilgrimage after the Kurukshetra war. He decided to settle on the banks of Godavari, in the Kumaranchala hills. Here in dhyan, the devi appeared before him and ordained to build temples for the Shakti trio – Saraswati, Laxmi and Kali. Sage Vyasa would collect three handfuls of sand everyday and placed them on the ground. Over time, the heap of sand was miraculously transformed into the statues of the deities. The area was named Vasara after Rishi Vyasa, and over time adulterated to become Basar.
At Basar temple, Akshara Abhyasam, which marks the onset of education of a child, is done in large groups in front of the sanctum and hall in front of a smaller idol of the deity after which the priest makes the child write their first letters on a slate.
This temple was constructed during the Chalukyan period but has been renovated many times after that. Vasant Panchami, which is the day of birth of the devi, is a big occasion at the temple.