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108 Siva temples an epitome of negligence

M.V. Subramanyam
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The state of monuments calls for immediate action from the authorities

A silent plea:One of the Siva temples crumbling away at Jyothi in Kadapa district.
A silent plea:One of the Siva temples crumbling away at Jyothi in Kadapa district.

The 108 Siva temples dating back to 1213 AD, lying buried under sand on the banks of Pennar river in Jyothi village of Siddhavatam mandal, are on the verge of collapse in the absence of efforts to preserve them.

Scriptures term the rare presence of 108 Siva temples at Jyothi village as unique. Eminent historian Col. McKenzie visited the temples in 1806 and history researcher Robert Seawell visited them in 1878.

The Saivaite pilgrim centre, Jyothi, is said to be one of the doorways to the historic Srisailam temple and the other three being Alampur, Tripuranthakam and Umamaheswaram.

The Archaeological Survey of India excavated about half-a-dozen temples and also found a Chaturmukha (four-faced) Sivalingam, Lord Surya and nagasilas and shifted them to the Chennai museum decades ago. Later, in order to restore the pristine glory of the place, some villagers made yeoman efforts to remove sand. In the process, Sri Siddheswara Swamy temple, the main temple facing north, a sanctum sanctorum and maha mantapam surfaced. Also, they could find Sri Jyothi Lingeswara temple and two Siva lingas.

The temples that were excavated lacked proper care that led to its sorry state now, laments Central Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar awardee and writer Vempalli Gangadhar.

He addressed letters to the Archaeological Survey of India authorities at Hyderabad and the Srisailam Devasthanams authorities on the need to preserve the ancient temples.


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