TIRUPATI: An assistant professor working at Srikalahasti Degree College for Women discovered a Buddhist Stupa, a cave, and some ancient sculpture treasures in Bhairava Konda, the highest hilly area in the entire Nallamalla forest located in Prakasam district. Kandula Savitri (45) originally from Lingapuram village of Cumbum mandal of Prakasam district, has been working as an assistant professor in the department of history, Srikalahasti Degree College for Women in Tirupati district.
Savitri carried out her research activity under the supervision of her guide Dr D Venkateswara Reddy. During her research, an inscription was unearthed in a Shiva Temple (also known as Lakshumanna temple) in Bogolu village, Ardhaveedu Mandal, Prakasam, and the other in Bogolu agricultural field. A statue of Lord Ganesha standing next an inscription was unearthed, which was sent for review. A Bhairava Munishwara temple is also located on a hill 8 kilometres from Bogolu. This temple is located on the highest peak in the Nallamala forest. Bhairava Muni’s name is derived from the term Bhairava Konda or Bhairava Munishwara Kshetra. On this mountain, there are three temples that includes Shiva Temple, Ammavari Temple, and Bhairava Muni Temple.
“The architecture of the Shiva temple differs from that of other two temples in the area. It is made of bricks both inside and out, and its architectural style is similar to that of a Buddhist stupa. Studies reveal that there were Buddhist monks here. The two remaining temples are made of stone and date from the 15th century. There is an inscription on the stone wall near the Dona of inscriptions from temples on the northern side,’ said Kandula Savitri. On top of the stone wall are the phrases ‘Uttpati Pidugu - Ekanta Nivaasi’ in Telugu 8th century characters, as well as the Shiva Lingam seal,” said the professor.
Savitri explained that the inscriptions were sent for review to Dr K Muniratnam, Director (Epigraphy), Directorate of Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India, Mysuru. The study review revealed that the inscription on the stones said that it was once a Buddhist temple, and the Kalamukha group of Shiva devotees with the titles ‘Uttpati Pidugu - Ekanta Nivaasi’, destroyed it and changed them into Shiva temples. Based on the study, I learned that Buddhism thrived even in the Nallamala forest area also,” said Kandula Savitri.The research of the assistant professor also revealed that there is a cave on the eastern side of Bhairava hill temples.
“There are two paths in this cave with a large rock. The monks chiselled a fine stone from one side of the cave to come out from the other side and get to the destinations indicated. However, according to history, prehistoric man (pre-historic period peoples) built caves with big rocks as houses,” said the professor.
Savitri disclosed here that the residents of Bogolu and Lingapuram villages have learned from their elders that Bhairava Muni came to Bogolu village to practice penance here, and then returned to Bhairava kshetra after playing kabaddi (called chedugudu) with them. “Muni is the one who takes three steps to reach Bhairava Konda, thus worshippers cut the garika (grass) three times and put it on their foot while walking,” added she.