In this paper, the development of large volume double ring Penning plasma discharge source for efficient light emissions is reported. The developed Penning discharge source consists of two cylindrical end cathodes of stainless steel having radius 6 cm and a gap 5.5 cm between them, which are fitted in the top and bottom flanges of the vacuum chamber. Two stainless steel anode rings with thickness 0.4 cm and inner diameters 6.45 cm having separation 2 cm are kept at the discharge centre. Neodymium (Nd2Fe14B) permanent magnets are physically inserted behind the cathodes for producing nearly uniform magnetic field of ∼0.1 T at the center. Experiments and simulations have been performed for single and double anode ring configurations using helium gas discharge, which infer that double ring configuration gives better light emissions in the large volume Penning plasma discharge arrangement. The optical emission spectroscopy measurements are used to complement the observations. The spectral line-ratio technique is utilized to determine the electron plasma density. The estimated electron plasma density in double ring plasma configuration is ∼2 × 1011 cm-3, which is around one order of magnitude larger than that of single ring arrangement. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.