This is a very ancient sacred place (pilgrim centre). Lord Narasimha manifested Himself here as a huge of rock in “Yoga mudra” (in an entwined contemplative posture) and hence it acquired the name of “Penusila” (huge rock) and in course of time became famous as “Penchalakona”. Legend has it that after slaying the demon Hiranya Kasipa, Lord Narsimha bathed in Penchalakona and withdrew that “Avatara” (incarnation) of Narasimha, shedding His anger and ferocity.
The Lord here goes by the name of Somasila Narasimhaswamy and has become one of the Nava Narasimhas (nine manifestations). People believe that because the sage Kanva resided in this area in the past, the river flowing here acquired the name Kanva Nadi and that with efflux of time it became Kandaleru. It is also learnt that the temple was renovated in the 10th century.
Another story says that after killing the demon Hiranyakashyapu, Lord Vishnu was roaming around in the forest. Goddess Sreedevi (Lakshmi) appeared as a Chenchu tribal lady and after calming his anger , she hugged him as they say in Telugu, ‘Penu chesukonuta’. So this temple was named ‘Penusila’.