Hyderabad: The Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust, located at the historic rock site of Khajaguda, is set to rebuild a temple after demolishing the existing small one a few days ago due to “bad Vaastu”. However, if done, it will be in clear violation of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) laws, which protect the historic site.
According to members of the trust, construction of the new, larger temple will begin in June. The smaller temple which was built on the rocky site of Khajaguda years ago (which has been the subject of anger from concerned citizens) was demolished last week due to bad Vaastu (system of traditional Hindu architecture).
The new temple that will come to the same place, will probably be even bigger. The chairman of the trust, Satyanarayana, insists that the construction of the temple is completely legal. “The trust was allocated 178 acres for the Temple. The government allowed us to start construction on the same land where the old temple was,” he said. Siasat.com.
“Some people talk about something called Fakhruddin Gutta – nothing like that exists in the records. Hindu temples were destroyed on this site many years ago, and we are just rebuilding them. After the destruction of the temples, they built a dargah there and we have no problem with that, but the land originally belongs to the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Trust,” he claimed.
Satyanarayana added that the state endowment commissioner gave them clarification on the matter.
However, HMDA officials said building anything in the area is against the law. In 2019, the Telangana High Court decreed that the 180-acre heritage rock site of Khajaguda was a protected site and made HMDA its custodian.
An HMDA official said: “The whole area is a protected heritage site and the building that was there before was not a permitted construction. Apart from what is already wrong, their planning for a bigger temple is worse. The official added that permissions for the construction are entirely dependent on the current political factors and the will of the HMDA.
In February, it was discovered that the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust was drilling into heritage rocks in the area to install a borehole to supply water to their barn. This move was, of course, illegal.
Meanwhile, rock climbing enthusiasts and environmentalists from the “Society to Save Rocks” launched a campaign in February to stop the illegal demolition of rocks in Khajaguda. The organization had submitted documents to the HMDA, prompting government officials to investigate the area, leading them to confirm that construction in the area was not permitted.
In March, the Telangana government suspended a Village Revenue Assistant (VRA) after it was discovered that four people had encroached and destroyed rocks at the historic rock site of Khajaguda. Special Secretary for City Administration and Urban Development Arvind Kumar said six security guards would now be stationed at the site 24/7 to protect it.
Currently HMDA is also investigating the site, after which they will close it off, to prevent any further demolition.
The heritage site of Fakhruddin Gutta (Khajaguda) is divided between the villages of Puppalguda and Khajaguda. Hikers, climbers, walkers and naturalists have frequented the site for a decade.
The rocky Khajaguda site also hosts the Hyderabad Climbing Championship, which is gaining recognition across the country. However, for more than a decade the place has been the scene of drilling and destruction at the hands of local property developers, who are now facing resistance from activists and various citizen groups.
Earlier, representatives of Hyderabad’s climbing community and trekking clubs called on Telangana’s Urban Development Minister, KT Rama Rao, to intervene immediately to instruct the Ranga Reddy District Forest Conservator and coordinate with GHMC, HMDA and Ranga Reddy District Collector to stop any further encroachment work. They asked him to set up a high-level committee to investigate the role of the local Gandipet MRO and Ranga Reddy Forest Conservator.