HYDERABAD: It is a known fact that devotees hid temples to protect them from being destroyed by invaders by burying them underground. One of these temples – the Machaladevi temple – was discovered inside the Warangal fort a few years ago.
It was dedicated to the mistress and dancer of the ruler of Kakatiya Prataparudra. The temple was found buried near the embankment of a reservoir and later became known as “Yelpigandi Temple”.
A similar temple, but of a much older period, was found by Gonguluru people at Pulkal mandal of Sangareddy district some time ago. The temple where the presiding deity is Lord Shiva, has been buried for over a millennium under a mound of earth in the village.
Kotha Telangana Charitra Brundam members, who explored the temple, dated it to the era of the Rashtrakutas of the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The structure is carved from red sandstone and the four-armed Dwarapalakas of the carvings found at the entrance to the temple are found standing with their legs crossed.
Above the main gate, the sculpture of Gajalakshmi could be seen, with serration-like kalashas found on either side of the gate. Four ‘Kudus’ which were carved according to Rashtrakuta architecture were also found above the main entrance of the temple.
‘Panavattam’, the base of the Shivalinga, is square in shape, and the ‘Banalinga’ is installed in the middle. The statue of the old Nandi is outside the temple, while a new one is inside. There is a piece of ‘Saptamatruka’ panel with four ‘Matrukas’ (mother goddesses) found inside the temple, which also indicates the style of Rashtrakuta architecture. There is only one sanctum sanctorum, with a Mandapa (hall) inside the temple, which also indicates the Rashtrakuta style, according to Dr. E Sivanagireddy, archaeologist.
Protect the sanctuary from invaders
Devotees hid temples to protect them from destruction by invaders
The Shiva Temple at Gonguluru is believed to have been buried for over a millennium