Ancient temple finally uncovered after decades of being submerged in reservoir

A temple that was built in the 11-12th centuries AD and disappeared out of sight a decade ago due to high water levels. Just recently, bits of the temple have begun to show up thanks to lowering water levels.

The Director of Archaeology and Museums plans to shift the temple known as Sri Shambulingeshwara Swamy. The temple was built at Panagal in Nalgonda district and was submerged under the Udyasamudram reservoir.

The assistant director of Archaeology and Museums, P. Nagaraju, said that they have contacted the director, N.R. Visalatchy, to discuss the movement of the loose pieces of the temple.

They wish to move all of the pieces that are rising out from the reservoir to the Panagal Museum so that they do not lose any more of the temple. He added that the director had gotten in contact with the Engineering Department to visit the site and prepare several proposals for shifting the temple.

The entire Lord Siva temple will hopefully be dismantled before moving the building to a different location. Thankfully, the temple has remained intact despite its being submerged for over a decade.

While looking over the temple, archaeologists found about 12 pillars from another temple, that probably collapsed some centuries ago as well. Among the rubble, they also found some loose sculptures which are most likely from a Nandi, Lord Vinayaka, and others.

Here is a little history of the temple:

This temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. The architecture of the temple reflects the Kakatiya Dynasty. One of the most wonderful features of the temple is the two-inch circular hole at the top of the temple.

This hole is filled with water throughout all seasons and is a special feature of Shiva Linga. Because of this feature, this temple is known as Dakshina Kasi.

One of the legends of the temple is that during the Kakatiya rule, a cow herder saw a cow go and empty its udder over Shiva Linga. The cow herder did not know that it was Shiva Linga, so he cut Shiva Linga into 11 pieces and threw them away.

However, the next day Shiva Linga manifested itself as a whole as it was originally. When the cow herder explained that to the king, the king came to call that area Shiva Linga and ordered a temple built around it.

Sambhu Lingeswara-Swami Temple-in-Mellacheruvu. Source:Yatrastotempels
Sambhu Lingeswara-Swami Temple-in-Mellacheruvu. Source: Yatrastotempels

Each year, there are special celebrations for Shiva Linga. There are regular poojas and also Mahashivaratri, and during that time, the Kalyanotsavam of the deity is celebrated with immense devotion.

It is considered one of the most important pieces of architecture found in the Warangal Fort of Telangana. Not only is it important from a historical aspect, it is also important because archaeologists can view the craftsmanship of the Kakatiyan sculptors.

The Shiva Linga still has a special significance and it is believed that it emerged from earth on its own. That is why the temple was named Swayambhu, which translates into “self-incarnated”.

The temple was considered one of the most important places of worship for the Kakatiya kings.

Archaeologists have actually taken pieces from the original ruin and paired those with replicas in order to re-build the temple in its entirety.

The re-creation lures in many tourists from around the world to view this immaculate piece of architecture.

Sri Shambulingeshwara Swamy temple that had submerged under Udyasamudram reservoir a decade ago at Panagal in Nalgonda district. Source:Singam Venkataramanana/Hindu
Swamy temple that had submerged under Udyasamudram reservoir a decade ago at Panagal in Nalgonda district. Source: Singam Venkataramanana/Hindu

The pillars and arches that are on display have beautifully intricate carvings of figures. Even though the pillars are of stone, the carvings have delicate features, such as the jewelry on the dancers.

The carvings even show facial expressions and physical strength.

What is most amazing is the size of the ceilings in the temple. The walls and ceilings of the temple depict Perini dancers.

Although the carvings depict female dancers, the Perini dance was a form of tribute for the soldiers who were leaving for war. The carvings inspired Acharya Nataraj Ramakrishna to revive this dance form.

The temple has around 23 shrines, most of which had gems embedded in them until they were extracted. The ruins sadly show tourists just how many vandals are in the area and how the ancient architecture is not safe.