Motupalli, a non-descript village in Chinnaganjam mandal of Prakasam district, is an Indologist’s delight as it once was a flourishing port town, replete with rich artefacts.
The Sri Veerabhadra swamy temple with inscriptions written in Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit, speaks volumes about the great cultural past of the sea-faring Telugu people and the flourishing foreign trade they had with their counterparts in other Asian countries as recounted by Italian traveller Marco Polo, points out State Archaeology (Museums) Assistant Director S.Bangaraiah, while talking to The Hindu .
The ‘Abhaya sasanam’ (charter of security) issued by Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva (1190-1252A.D.) to merchants to promote foreign trade and the other inscriptions on the walls of the Sri Veerabhadra swamy temple bear testimony to these facts, observes epigraphist Jyothi Chandramouli.
People in the now sleepy village want the Veerabhadra swamy temple, a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), to be thrown open to the public as a ‘site museum’ to attract national and international tourists on the one hand and re-starting of religious activities on the other for their benefit after the renovation of the temple.
Showing the special Nandi idol in the temple made by an expert sculptor to look as if it had turned a bit towards the right for a better view of Lord Siva with its left eye, Rudramambapuram sarpanch K.Govind told The Hindu that “we are keen on celebrating Mahasivaratri and other festivals in the temple premises.”
“The Government should grant permission to perform poojas at the temple on a regular basis as keeping the temple of Sri Veerabhadra, a fiery form of Lord Siva, closed is not a good thing at all,” an elderly man, K.Sambaiah, opined. “First Samprokshanam has to be done immediately at the temple, where people offered worship for centuries,” said 60-year-old Chinna Narasimha while showing the idols of the mother goddess Rudrambadevi, Subramanya swamy and the broken Dwajasthambam (flag pole).
Museum in Ongole
On the efforts of the department to preserve the rare artefacts in Prakasam district dating back to very early times, Mr.Bangaraiah said the State government had sanctioned Rs 4 crore for a museum in Ongole to showcase the artefacts.
“We are scouting for a good plot to construct the museum and bring back many of the artefacts now displayed in the State Archaeological Museum in Hyderabad to highlight Prakasam district’s culture,” he added.