300-year-old temple loses its doorway to new construction

The damaged portion of the entrance to the Shiva Temple in Gyanbagh area.

The damaged portion of the entrance to the Shiva Temple in Gyanbagh area.

The old ceremonial pathway to the Shiva temple in Gyanbagh has been erased. Parts of the wall have been broken down and parts of the old ceremonial doorway can now be seen behind a blue tin sheet. In the absence of the original pathway, visitors have to hunt for the makeshift entrance.

“You can see the temple if you take the doorway near the round building and reach the temple through that lane,” says a vegetable seller in an inner lane of Gyanbagh Colony.

Through a winding lane that looks like a shanty with families washing vessels and drying laundry, the Rameshwar Mandir Mahadevi Ji comes into view.

“This must be over 300-year-old temple. My father and his father have lived and worked here,” informs a resident whose house adjoins the small temple. Inside, the temple with rough hewn pillars and an intricately carved door frame with a Shivling can be seen.

The temple lists its Mutawali (caretaker) as Raja Dhanrajgir Ji Bahadur and the priest as Kesav Rao.

Gyanbagh Palace

“They have closed the main entrance. I think the property is sold,” says a resident living near the temple. Yards behind the temple is the Gyanbagh Palace which is a notified heritage site under HUDA limits. Any modification to the site can be done only after the approval of Heritage Conservation Committee. The extent and grandeur of the palace can be seen from the 1975-Telugu movie Mutyala Muggu.

The Department of Heritage Telangana has sent a missive to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority commissioner citing the listing of the property as a Grade-II heritage site of HUDA and asking for action.

Construction work

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has also received a letter from a Mustafa Ali of Hyderabad about protecting the listed heritage property. But the construction work is going on apace at the site.

This Shivratri, the devotees of the ancient temple in Pan Mandi will have to find their way through the winding lane dodging household goods and drying laundry.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2022 4:10:54 am |