Heavy rain damages the 82-foot tall northern tower
The 82-foot tall northern tower of Srisailam temple, popularly known as Shivaji Gopuram, collapsed due to heavy rain in the wee hours of Wednesday. As the incident took place at around 2.10 a.m., there was no human activity around and, as a result, there were no casualties.
Endowments Commissioner G. Balaramaiah visited the temple and reviewed the situation. He said the damaged tower would be dismantled completely and, in its place, an equally majestic tower would be built at a cost of Rs. 2 crore. According to him, the towers at Amaravathi and Mangalagiri temple also required replacement but conflicting views were delaying the process.
A member of Srisailam Temple Trust Board A. Adinarayana Reddy came forward to donate Rs. 2 crore to meet the entire cost for reconstruction of the tower.
The tower was believed to have been constructed by Maratha King Chatrapati Shivaji in 1677. The structure was renovated in 1962-65 after some cracks were detected. Three other towers of the Srisailam temple were reported to be in proper condition and required no repairs.
The collapse of the gopuram shocked the priests, devotees and the temple authorities. A section of devotees considered the incident a bad omen for the State. The temple priests explained that no evil omen could be attached to the incident as a formal decision was taken two years ago to pull down the tower. An expert panel inspected the structure and gave its report.
According to them, formal Vedic rituals were conducted on May 13, 2011 for pulling down the tower and the work started immediately. Around this stage the archaeological officials inspected the structure and advised the temple authorities not to go in for complete demolition but partial replacement. Conflicting reports from the two quarters compelled the temple officials to put off the demolition.