Helen Philon, co-founder, Deccan Heritage Foundation (DHF) and nine others, representing the American Friends of DHF, visited the only one-of-its-kind temple in Telangana located at Panagal on the outskirts of Nalgonda city on Monday and were impressed by the beautiful architecture of the ancient temple, which now lies in a dilapidated condition.
“We are awestruck by the stunning beauty of the Pachchala Someswara temple with its amazing art and architecture,” said Ms. Helen. The temple is built of greenish basalt stone and hence is called Pachchala Someswara temple. The heritage experts felt the need for restoring the ancient temple to its past glory.
Noted archaeologist and CEO, Pleach India Foundation, E. Sivanagireddy explained to them the history of the Cholas of Kandur who ruled Panagal as independent monarchs and also as subordinates to the Chalukyas of Kalyana and the Kakatiyas of Warangal between 11th and 13 th centuries CE.
Mr. Reddy added that the Pachchala Someswara temple complex having four independent shrines, three in a row and one on opposite sides connected to a common Mahamandapa was built by Udayana Chola -II (1136-76 CE) in an altogether new style with an admixture of the Rashtrakuta and Chalukyas of Kalyana architecture.
Mr. Sivanagireddy explained further that the uniqueness of the temple lies in its intricately carved sculptures of animals, creepers, geometrical patterns and divine figures on basement, walls, niches, doorframes, pillars and ceilings depicting the scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata besides contemporary lifestyle. He informed the heritage experts that the temple served as a veritable museum for the public in disseminating knowledge and also acted as a centre of culture and traditions of Telangana for the past 850 years. The team had a close look at the fallen stones of the temples stacked at the backyard.
Later they also visited the Chaya Someswara temple which is also unique, for its shade falls on the Sivalinga all through the day through a technique of intersecting shades of two pillars of the arthamandapa of the temple.
Mr. Saratchandra , member, Executive Team, DHF India; Elena Werner, trustee, American Friends of DHF; and Prof. Molly Aitken, City College of New York participated in the visit.