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Siva temple of Chola times sheds light on Andhra’s culture

S. Murali
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A devotee strikes the bell which reverberates 108 times at the Ramalingeswara swamy temple in Santharavuru in Prakasam district.—photo: Kommuri Srinivas
A devotee strikes the bell which reverberates 108 times at the Ramalingeswara swamy temple in Santharavuru in Prakasam district.—photo: Kommuri Srinivas

The ancient temple of Lord Ramalingeswara swamy at Santharavuru is not only preferred by devotees particularly during the auspicious Karthika Masam, but also an indologists delight having rare stone inscriptions in its premises.

Devouts throng the stone temple constructed during the Chola times with a ‘Swayambhulingam’ as it has a unique bronze bell which reverberates 108 times when struck once, providing the right ambience to do meditation and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

‘A similar bell is there only in Kasi,’ says temple priest Ravuri Nagakoteswara Rao. Cholas avid builders of temples during their incursions upto Ganges in the North, had built the temple in the 12th century, recalls its Executive Officer P.Srinivasa Rao while talking to The Hindu.

The “Chalukya Chola dynasty kings had ruled these parts from 1070 A.D. until the disintegration of the empire in the second half of the 13th century when Sultans emerged powerful.

The Adyar Library and Research Centre in Chennai, a repository of rare books and palm leaves, provides vivid information about the temple,” he adds.

Highlighting the architectural splendour of the temple, he says only stones were used to build this beautiful structure. Oil lamp lighted in the temple could be seen far away from the temple.

Chola sculptors used to make idols of revered Nandi here and send them to different temples dedicated Lord Shiva in these parts, the priest says referring to the presence of two idols of the humped bulls within the temple premises, a rare phenomenon.

Those without children for long visit this temple, six km from Kadakudhuru on the Ongole-Chirala road (old Madras road) and circumambulate 108 times for good progeny, says the priest who maintains the temple with 16.79 acres given by the Endowments department. Snakes used to visit the temple particularly during night time. Those experiencing bad times frequent this temple for better times to usher in, the priest says.

The village elders have come together on Karthika Pournami and decided to submit a proposal to the Endowments department to renovate this temple at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh mobilising donations and by getting assistance from the Common Good Fund (CGF).



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