Andhra Pradesh

‘Dongala Mandapam’ in a state of ruin

Archaeologist E. Sivanagi Reddy at the dilapidated mandapam at Mangalam village near Tirupati.  

A structure that used to be a place of shelter for devotees visiting Tirupati for four centuries is now a pale shadow of its former self, thanks to the apathy of officials and public indifference.

The 16th century structure located at Mangalam, once a deserted village and now in the eastern suburbs of Tirupati, is locally known as ‘Dongala Mandapam’. In fact, there are several such structures known by the name ‘Dongala Mandapam’ on the various routes towards Tirupati. The structure used to provide shelter to devotees arriving towards Tirumala from Srikalahasti and beyond.

Built by the Vijayanagara kings for the benefit of the public, the pavilion abutting thick forests used to provide shelter to the trekking devotees from heat and rain, apart from ensuring safety from wild animals by facilitating night stay. The rock structure is now in a shambles with thick vegetation growth all over.

Emani Sivanagi Reddy, noted archaeologist and Chief Executive Officer of Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravathi, paid a visit to the spot recently along with B.V. Ramana, a nature enthusiast, when, to his utter dismay, he found the structure in a dilapidated condition. Dr. Reddy appealed to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and State Department of Archaeology and Museums to safeguard the monument for posterity.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 11:36:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/dongala-mandapam-in-a-state-of-ruin/article33595455.ece

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