Remains of Buddhist sculptures are still being worshipped as Lord Siva in all the major temples within the radius of 10 km of Nidumolu village in Movva mandal of Krishna District.
These are the places where Buddhism once flourished during 1st and 2nd Century A.D. and its remains are still available on the premises of as many as 11 temples till today and are being conserved by the locals.
The Buddhist sculptures under the control of locals are - pillars, bricks and half-lotus medallions - standing witness to the emergence of different stages of Buddhism.
“Worshipping Ayaka Pillar or Ayaka Mantapa, made of Dachepalli green stone, as Lord Siva Linga is a common feature in these 11 Siva temples”, Krishna district-based historian Mohammed Silar told The Hindu.
The temples at Ghantasala, Pamarrru, Pedamuddali, Mantena, Manzuluru, Kruthivennu, China Muttevi, Mallavolu, Pedakallepalli and Nidumolu are now flourishing as famous Siva temples in Krishna district.
An Ayaka Pillar worshipped as Lord Siva accompanied by two half-lotus medallions at Pedakallepalli is mute witness to how Hindu temples were built on the Buddhist sites.
Considering the two half-lotus medallions as Satya Pillars, the villagers confess their sins before them.
Sri Sanni Siddheswara temple of Nidumolu, 16-km away from Machilipatnam, remains a classical example of how temples were built on Buddhist sites.
“The 7.8 feet Ayaka pillar, three sizes of bricks, four half lotus medallions, Nidumolu stone inscription (dates back to 1178 A.D of Rajendra Chola-II) and a stone inscription scripted in Arabic language were found during the excavation of the temple base in November 2011”, said Mr. Silar, who documented it.
The villagers accompanied by Endowment Department team conducted excavations at the temple in order to renovate it as it was in a dilapidated condition.
Revealing the roots of the pillar that is now considered a Siva Linga consists of nude Yakshini figure, Mahayana period’s bull at its lower part. However, the bricks sized of 24x12,18x12 inches and 12x8 are still preserved by the villagers.
After touring Dharanikota (Amaravati) and Venginadu (Eluru region) during Eastern Chalukya’s period, famous historian Huyantsang documented in his book ‘Siyuki’ that Buddhist temples were occupied or converted into Hindu temples in these locations.